The contents of this column reflect the letters we had received by the time we went to press, December 12, 2005. Letters are limited to 300 words or less. All submissions must include the author's name and location. Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Unreadable publications in doctors' offices and eye clinics
On one of my periodic visits to Duke Eye Center, I observed a number of publications (primarily news magazines) in the Glaucoma Service waiting room. Ironically, only the good Samaritans who provided us transportation to the eye center could read the print materials available. There were no publications directed specifically to the patients. It occurred to me: Why not have the large print edition of "The Braille Forum" available?
My suggestion is this: Place copies of "The Braille Forum" in major eye centers in the various states. I have utilized not only Duke but in past years the glaucoma services at Indiana University Medical Center and University of Virginia Hospitals. This would be a service to and a source of information for the patients and, secondarily, a means of raising the profile of ACB in the visual treatment community.
Should this endeavor entail additional and possibly burdensome costs, ask the respective state councils to underwrite the effort. I can tell you that the North Carolina Council will gladly participate. The state councils could select the recipient centers and perhaps even establish contacts there for receipt and distribution. This is one of those late-night brainstorms, but I hope you will consider it.
By the way, we had a great convention in Las Vegas. Let's do it again!
-- Allen Casey, Graham, N.C.
Regarding the September Issue
I was delighted to find my name and amateur collection of VoiceOver resources mentioned in the current issue of "The Braille Forum," September 2005. I was even more delighted with how fair and balanced I found Paul Edwards' article, "A New Era for Technology." People interested in learning more about the integrated screen reader component of Apple Macintosh OS X would be much better served by being directed to http://www.macvisionaries.com where they will find a robust user community. Please mention this invaluable resource in your next issue.
-- Bruce Bailey, Frederick, Md.
The Apple computer was the first one I learned to use, in the mid- 1980s. Then along came the Macintosh and PowerBooks, etc. I stayed with them until finally, in 1999 or 2000, I became a reluctant Windows user. When I heard about what Apple was doing with the new Tiger operating system, I was ecstatic and optimistic. I later read Paul Edwards' article in "The Braille Forum" (September 2005), and was interested in the things he said concerning the possible effect this will have on technology. I purchased my Mac in November of 2004, using the Panther operating system; on April 29, I bought the Tiger CD, and the local Mac store installed it. The first thing the installer showed me was how to activate VoiceOver. Once I got home and followed his instructions, I was up and running. In my opinion, there is a bright future ahead for VoiceOver and for those of us who are devoted Apple/Mac fans. Apple is now getting into the cell phone market, and is incorporating its iTunes software into it. Unfortunately, the iPods, which are popular in the sighted world, aren't yet fully accessible, but I believe that we can influence Apple to incorporate VoiceOver technology into the next generation Apple cell phones.
It is my hope that Apple will do more than include VoiceOver in their next generation computers; if they are serious players in the cell phone industry, I would like to see them expand their commitment. If they really want to capture the BVI market share, we dedicated Mac users need to get ourselves heard. Thank you, Paul, for your comments and observations. They are food for thought.
-- Richie Gardenhire, Anchorage, Alaska
Lois Wencil's basic advice about folding paper money is good. Most people I know, however, use a less elaborate folding system for the most- used bills. The point, of course, is to devise a system you can remember and use consistently. I rarely handle currency larger than a $20 bill, so the higher denominations aren't a problem to begin with. Those I did use in the past were folded in very special ways, or put into brailled envelopes until they could be exchanged or deposited. In my experience, most blind people usually leave one-dollar bills flat; fives are folded in half crosswise; tens, lengthwise; twenties in quarters; and anything beyond that is handled in the way one decides.
Thank you for another interesting, inspiring issue.
-- Phyllis Lackershire, Richland Center, Wis.
In reply to a previous letter to the editor
This will serve as a follow-up to Dawn Maxey's letter to the editor regarding our experience with Steve and Patty Yarman in Mexico. She said you did not do your homework, but it is Dawn who needed to do more homework.
For the information of your readers, the Sheraton Buganvilias was totally out of line in the action they took. Prior to our trip to Puerto Vallarta, I had confirmed twice with the manager at the resort that we were traveling with our guide dogs. This was done by telephone and followed up by e-mail. We were assured there would be no problem. At the time we were forced to leave, the manager lied to us about the local restrictions regarding guide dogs in that we later learned there are no restrictions. Theresa Duncan of Guide Dogs for the Blind has taken her dog there a number of times. If they had told us up front that we could not bring our dogs, we would not have gone.
While it is true that Roosevelt (Patty's dog) did go out of the room and did relieve on the property, he did not cause any problems (did not go in the pool) and Patty did pick up after him. We were treated very shabbily. It was only because we were afraid they would take our dogs that we knuckled under to their demands and left the resort.
We would hope that all members of ACB boycott Sheraton Hotels. They have refused to do anything about the situation and will not even respond to our letters.
-- Lynn Boulter, Salt Lake City, Utah