Updated on Friday, November 21st, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System at 617-626-7660 and 800-392-6450. You can say “tape” or “telephone tape” into the phone. This message is also available on "Newsline," the accessible newspaper service by pressing number 2, the local Channel, and in the "Massachusetts Commission for the Blind" section of “Newsline”. This update is produced by Wayne Levy.

In observance of the Thanksgiving Holiday, all MCB offices will be closed on Thursday, November 27th.

MCB would also like to remind everyone that November is National Diabetes Month. With approximately 25 million people living with diabetes diagnosis, and many more undiagnosed, diabetes affects people across the Commonwealth and entire Unites States. Diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney failure. It is also one of the leading causes of blindness. MCB urges you to talk to your health care provider about steps you can take to prevent and manage this disease.

For the past 18 months, cable giant, Comcast has been working to make television more accessible to the blind and visually impaired. Comcast recently unveiled its Talking Guide, which features a female voice that can read network and program information such as titles, when a show will air, and a show’s ranking. The Talking Guide was developed in response to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), which requires cable companies to make their navigation guides accessible to people who cannot read visual displays. This new feature, which will be made available to customers over the next couple of weeks, doesn’t require any additional equipment and will not cause the user to incur additional charges. Brian Charlson, Director of Technology for the Carroll Center for the Blind had this to say about the Talking Guide: “Having worked with Comcast over the past couple of years on this device and service, I am not at all surprised to see Comcast lead the way in this important area. The only thing yet to be worked out is how I and my blind and visually impaired friends will find the time to take full advantage of what television has to offer.”

The Worcester Talking Book Library recently announced their fall series of free adaptive technology training workshops. The third workshop, JAWS Voice Profiles and Techniques for Proofreading Documents, will be held on Saturday, November 22nd from 9:45 AM to 12:00 PM (please note the change in the workshop start time) in the computer lab at the Worcester Talking Book Library, located at 3 Salem Square in Worcester. This session will cover changing JAWS voices and settings (as well as reasons why you might want to do this). They will also cover two powerful JAWS proofreading tools – text analyzer and speech and sound schemes. To register for this workshop, please contact Jim Izatt at jizatt@worcpublib.org or 508-799-1621. Additional information about this, and other upcoming workshops, can be obtained at www.worcpublib.org/talkingbook.

The Perkins School for the Blind would like to invite you to one of their special monthly concert series. On Monday, November 24th, the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Cynthia Woods, will be performing in Dwight Hall on the Perkins Campus at 7:00 PM. The Orchestra’s annual visit to Perkins will be a unique one! The program will also feature Perkins Secondary Program, the Orchestral Ensemble, who will be sitting in with the orchestra as they perform one piece together. For more information about this performance, please visit www.perkins.org.

Are you looking for fresh, fun ideas for decorating, gift-giving, or that holiday meal? Maybe you have an idea, recipe or accessible resource that was a huge hit with your friends or family. Perhaps you would be interested in sharing these. Join Seminars@Hadley for “Holiday HumDingers” on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 11:00 AM as they turn their attention to the upcoming holidays. This is “Pinterest”, seminar style! Hadley will get the session going with a few of their own holiday ‘HumDingers” and then it is an open microphone. Are you ready to have some fun? Join Seminars@Hadley regulars Patti Jacobson and Linn Sorge, both Hadley instructors, will lead this seminar. Dawn Turco, Hadley’s senior vice president, will moderate and contribute to this 60-minute seminar. Space in this seminar is limited. Please only register if you know you are available to attend so others are not closed out. A question and answer session will be included as part of the seminar, which is an audio presentation. To register, please go to: http://www.hadley.edu/Seminar_register.asp?sid=256. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.

The Carroll Center for the Blind will be hosting a technology fair on Tuesday, November 25th from 9:30 AM to 3:00 PM at the Rachel E. Rosenbaum Technology Center, located at 770 Centre Street on the Newton campus. Don’t miss out on this annual opportunity to try out the latest products and applications, attend workshops and meet manufacturers and local vendors. This technology fair is free and open to consumers, families, friends, and professionals. Registration is not required to attend the fair; however pre-registered attendees will receive event updates and special offers. More information can be obtained at www.carroll.org.

The Carroll Center for the Blind would also like to invite you to free, one-day workshop for leaders of low vision support groups, scheduled for Friday, December 5th from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM at the Rachael E. Rosenbaum Technology Center, 770 Centre Street in Newton. There are many low vision support groups around the state at senior communities, councils on aging, and senior residences. The leaders of these groups come together every year to share ideas, as well as to receive information and support from blindness professionals and each other. At the December 5th workshop, low vision specialists will explain what happens in a low vision exam, both clinical and functional. There will be information about some of the new treatments available, discussion about daily living aids, and time to share ideas about coordinating support groups. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lunch, but coffee, drinks, and snacks will be provided. For more information, or to register for the workshop, please contact Debby King at the Perkins Library at 617-972-7376 or debby.king@perkins.org.

The Bay State Council of the Blind (BSCB) is inviting you to visit the all-new American Council of the Blind (ACB) Mini Mall. Grab your credit card and head right over to the electronic ACB Mini Mall. You don’t need a car; you don’t need paratransit; you don’t have to wait for a cab or a bus. You don’t even have to get dressed to go shopping. Just go to ACB’s home page at www.acb.org or directly to the Mini Mall at https://mall.acb.org/. Several shops are now open in the Mini Mall. Browse the ACB Logo Shop, ACB Radio Wave, and the Cane Kiosk and more. More shops are coming soon, and more products will be added every day. Some products in the Mini Mall ship “Free Matter for the Blind”, while others are eligible for combined shipping. Tell your friends about the Mini Mall. Remember that every purchase supports the good work of the American Council of the Blind. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, or wish to place an order by phone, you can email the Mini Mall at acbstore@acb.org or call 877-630-7190.

The Hadley School for the Blind Woman’s Board will be, once again, offering Braille holiday cards and photo cards. The sale run until December 17th and cards feature greetings in both print and Braille. You can purchase cards online at www.hadley.edu or by calling 800-323-4238. All proceeds benefit the Hadley School for the Blind.

Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, November 28th.


This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.