Updated on Friday, May 15th, this is the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind (MCB) Information Network. This information can be accessed on the MCB Voice Information System by calling 617-626-7660. You may also call 800-392-6450 and say either “tape” or “telephone tape” into the speech recognition menu. Lastly, this weekly update 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.
Due to the Assembly Station Project, the MBTA is announcing that alternate shuttle buses will replace Orange Line trains in both directions from Sullivan Square to Oak Grove Stations from start to end of service during the following weekends: Saturday, May 16th through Sunday, May 17th; and then again on Saturday, May 30th through Sunday, May 31st.
Regular Orange Line trains will resume at the start of service on Mondays. All shuttle bus stops are accessible for individuals with a disability. Shuttle busses will be available at the Oak Grove, Malden Center, Wellington, Assembly, and Sullivan stops. To learn more, please visit www.mbta.com.
The American Federation for the Blind (AFB) recently announced the creation of an accessible HTML5 embedded video player and is making it available as a free download. The AFB Accessible Player makes it easy for people with vision loss to play videos online, something that can be fraught with accessibility challenges. According to AFB, people with vision loss need equal access to online videos for school, work and entertainment. People who are blind typically use only a keyboard, but many current video players are designed for mouse only, with no way to interact with the controls via the keyboard. The AFB Accessible Player leverages HTML 5 and cascading style sheets (CSS) to allow low-vision users to take advantage of websites' high-contrast color schemes to select the font sizes and colors they find easiest to read. The controls are labeled with text, so they work with any kind of assistive technology, such as screen-reading software, braille displays and screen-magnification software, as well as a mouse. The video can be expanded to full screen, which is helpful for users with low vision. It can be used either as an embedded YouTube player or as a standard player, and the custom control layout supports both English and Spanish languages. Initially, the AFB Accessible Player was developed for visitors to the AFB family of websites, but because so many developers are looking for specific solutions to make their websites accessible, AFB made the decision to share the player online. AFB's new HTML5 player is available for download free of charge at www.afb.org/player. You can learn more this announcement www.afb.org.
Netflix, the popular internet television network, recently announced that they are adding audio description to its platform as a setting. This is huge news for those individuals with vision loss. Previously, individuals who are blind had to have someone read what was happening on the screen. This would allow viewers to miss facial expressions, changes in settings and just about everything that’s not captured in the dialogue. Today, viewers who are blind can enjoy a complete picture of what’s happening on the screen. This historic Netflix announcement about the addition of video description to many of its hit shows is a major step forward for TV viewers with vision loss. All major networks and some cable channels are required to provide approximately four hours of video described programming each week. You can learn more about this requirement at www.afb.org/tv.
The Worcester Public Library recently announced their spring 2015 series of free adaptive technology training workshops. There are two remaining workshops scheduled for Saturday mornings from 9:45 AM to 11:45 AM in the computer lab at the Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Square in Worcester: On Saturday, June 6th, the second workshop will be on “Microsoft Word Basics”. This session will cover navigating ribbon menus, the most important commands for reading existing Word documents, creating new ones, and saving them to your hard drive. On Saturday, June 13th, the date of the final workshop, the topic will be decided by consensus of participants. To register or learn more about any of the workshops, please contact Jim Izatt at 508-799-1621 or call the Worcester Talking Book Library at 800-762-0085. You can also visit www.worcpublib.org/talkingbook
Attention track and field fans! The Perkins School for the Blind would like to invite you to the 69th Annual Eastern Athletic Association for the Blind (EEAB) Track and Field Tournament, scheduled for May 15th through May 17th at the outdoor track on the Perkins Campus in Watertown. Students from seven east coast schools for the blind will compete to see who can run faster, jump higher, and throw farther at this event. You can learn more about this event at www.perkins.org.
Have you visited the city of Chicago recently? The “Windy City” has much to offer to residents and tourists alike. From museums and theaters, to diverse cultures, food and music in its neighborhoods, there is something for everyone. The Hadley School for the Blind is inviting you to join them for a seminar titled, “A Virtual Trip to the Windy City: Chicago, Illinois”. Join Seminars@Hadley on Tuesday, May 19th, at 2:30 PM, as instructor Judy Greene and Dean of Educational Programs and Instruction Doug Anzlovar take you on a virtual tour of the “Windy City.” Your tour guides will follow the timeline of historical events that made Chicago the great city it is today. They will also discuss Chicago’s extensive transportation system and some of the city’s favorite attractions. Dean Anzlovar will also moderate this 60-minute seminar and a question and answer session will be included as a part of the seminar, which is an audio presentation. Space is limited, so please register only if you know you will attend. To register, please go to http://hadley.edu/SeminarDetails.asp?sid=274. You can learn more about this and other seminars at www.Hadley.edu.
The Carroll Center for the Blind Technology Department is pleased to offer a series of free adaptive technology training demonstrations, to be held on Saturdays and taught by David Kingsbury, the Carroll Center’s assistive technology trainer. These face to face workshops will take place from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM in the first floor meeting room at the Carroll Center’s Rachel Rosenbaum Technology Center at 770 Centre Street in Newton. Participants should already possess beginner or intermediate JAWS skills. These are demonstration sessions, not hands-on use of technology. You may attend one or more of the sessions. The next session is scheduled for Saturday May 23rd and will focus on “Using Jaws in the Window Environment”. This session will cover the main elements on the Windows entry screen, including differences between Windows 7 and 8.1. Desktop shortcut creation, file and folder management, backing up your files to external drives, and folder views will also be among the subjects discussed. To register for this workshop, please send an email to email@example.com. These first few workshops will be free-of-charge. Future workshops will be offered for a nominal fee. If you have any questions, you can call David at 781-974-2001 or visit www.carroll.org. Space is limited.
Our Place is pleased to announce World of Careers, an event aimed at students in high school and college, as well as adults with a disability, who are looking to obtain employment. This career exploration workshop will be held at the Museum of Science, located at 1 Science Park in Boston on Thursday, May 21st from 9:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Attendees will have numerous 15 minute sessions to conduct informational interviews with a professional. There will also be workshops, a light breakfast, and lunch. To register for World of Careers, you can access the application website at http://tiny.cc/OSOPWOC. You may also call 617-459-4084.
MCB and the Carroll Center for the Blind would like to invite you to the 31st Annual Carroll Society Awards, to be held on Thursday, June 4th at the Rachel E. Rosenbaum Technology Center, 770 Centre Street in Newton. The 2015 Blind Employee of the Year Award will be given, named and recognized at this event. Additionally, four individuals will also be inducted into The Carroll Society. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 3:00 PM and will feature a reception following the awards ceremony. For more information, please visit www.carroll.org or call 617-969-6200.
National Braille Press (NBP) is inviting you to a free tactile graphic/thermoform workshop, scheduled for Saturday, June 6th, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. NBP is offering this free tactile graphic workshop including reviewing materials and tools needed to create points, lines, and textures, as well as the types of materials and adhesives that work best for thermoforming . The workshop, which will be held at NBP, 88 St. Stephen Street in Boston (right down the street from Symphony Hall/ Northeastern T-stop), will talk briefly about what's best for use by a braille reader and discuss guidelines from Braille Authority of North America (BANA). NBP will also have a hands-on session, making graphics and demonstrating the use of the thermoform machine. Each participant will have an opportunity to use the machinery to create their own thermoform copy. Lastly, the workshop will offer an optional electronic graphic session reviewing the tools on Word/Corel to make graphics that can be printed on a ViewPlus Tiger embosser. Registration is required and parking is available on site. This course is first come, first serve as NBP is only able to accommodate a certain number of participants. Please visit www.nbp.org to register. To learn more, you can also contact Nicole Noble at 617-266-6160, ext. 433.
Thanks for reading this message and it will be updated again on Friday, May 22nd.
This information is provided by the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind.
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