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AFB  ®
Technology News for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired
From the American Foundation for the Blind
 July 2012 Issue  Volume 13  Number 7

Editor's Page

Back to School

Lee Huffman

Dear AccessWorld readers,

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and AccessWorld are excited to announce a new product developed by AFB Tech's lab in conjunction with FloCo Apps, LLC. The new product, AccessNote, is a powerful and efficient note taking app that takes advantage of the tremendous built-in accessibility of your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.

To allow for much greater typing speed, increase accuracy, and permit keyboard commands, AccessNote is designed to be used with the Apple Wireless Keyboard (QWERTY) as well as wireless braille keyboards and displays. AccessNote will be completely compatible with VoiceOver and the iOS screen reader. Priced under $30, plans are in place for its launch at the App Store later this summer, just in time for those students heading back to school. Stay tuned to AccessWorld and the AFB Blog for updates.

Yes, that's right…I said back to school. It's almost here again. I know the students out there don't want to hear these words, but it's time to get back to school.

New classes, new instructors, class projects, oral presentations, tests, meeting new people, and even the possibility of changing schools or moving away to college bring about uncertainty and new challenges. Uncertainty is not necessarily a bad thing. This time of year can be exciting, too, especially if you plan ahead and prepare in advance.

Pursuing a good education can be difficult under the best of circumstances, and doing so as a person with vision loss can increase the challenge. Just as we have done for the past two years in the July issue, the AccessWorld team will once again focus on providing valuable information and resources for students, parents, teachers, and professionals in the vision loss field to help make educational pursuits less stressful and more enjoyable.

I have said it before, and I will say it again:

For the students in our readership: You must take personal responsibility for your education. Ultimately, you must be your own advocate. Prepare in advance, speak to instructors, and tell those you'll be working with exactly what types of accommodations will best meet your needs. Your education will have a tremendous impact on every aspect of the rest of your life, so it's crucial that you do everything you can to get the most out of your studies.

Good planning prevents poor performance. It's never too early to begin planning for the next school term, whether you're in elementary school or graduate school. Acquiring and learning to use the mainstream and access technology that best suits your situation, registering as early as possible for classes, obtaining reading lists, and searching out alternative formats should be done as soon as you can. Waiting until the last minute is a recipe for disaster.

The AccessWorld team is excited to bring you the information in this issue, and we sincerely hope you or a student you know will find it useful. In this issue Darren Burton and Ricky Kirkendall of FloCo Apps, LLC bring you an article detailing AccessNote, Larry Lewis continues his series Success with iOS with his article "iOS and E-books, An Alternative Means of Reading," and Tara Annis highlights another STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiative in her article, "What You See Is What You Feel: Getting in Touch with Haptic Technology from eTouchSciences."

If you are looking for information about cell phone accessibility as you start the new school term, you will want to read Tara Annis's second article in this issue, "An Evaluation of Two Cell Phone Accessibility Websites: Access Wireless and FCC Clearinghouse." Additionally, the staff at Baruch College highlights its method of linking technology and service to people with vision loss, and on the employment front, Dr. Jaclyn Packer and Morgan Blubaugh discuss research into the use of all-in-one multifunctional document centers by people who are blind or who have low vision.

If you happen to be looking for an accessible HD radio for your dorm room or new apartment or want access to digital television programming, Deborah Kendrick just may have viable solutions for you in her articles. To round out the issue, Janet Ingber looks at substitutes for the popular Siri feature on the iPhone 4S.

I encourage you to read every article, along with the articles from the July 2010 and July 2011 issues of AccessWorld, as the ideas and resources we've covered will certainly help improve, enrich, and broaden your educational experience. Please use these articles and resources to your best advantage. We on the AccessWorld team wish you good luck and good planning as you head back to school!

Sincerely,

Lee Huffman

Editor-in-Chief

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Copyright © 2012 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

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