In This Issue
A Final Wrap up for the AFB Leadership Conference and CSUN 2017
The 2017 AFB Leadership Conference Report
by Janet Ingber
The American Foundation for the Blind held its annual Leadership Conference at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia, March 3-5, 2017. This conference is geared toward assistive technology specialists, rehabilitation counselors, teachers of the blind and visually impaired, organizations that serve people with visual impairments, and anyone interested in these fields. This exciting conference offered many educational sessions, exhibits, and awards for very deserving people.
CSUN 2017: Observations of a Conference Newbie
by Jamie Pauls
Over the past five years, I have had the pleasure of attending several assistive technology conferences, but this year was the first time I attended a CSUN conference. As a general rule, anything that is highly spoken of by others never quite meets up to the hype, but CSUN is definitely an exception. I approached this year's CSUN conference with wide-eyed wonder, and I was not disappointed. I plan to return in the future, and I am excited to see what new surprises await.
CSUN 2017: Technology Highlights
by Shelly Brisbin
Among the pleasures of the annual CSUN Assistive Technology Conference is that it is diverse enough to be whatever you, the attendee, want it to be. For a large group of attendees, it's a week of learning, chock full of sessions on topics ranging from Web accessibility and document-building, to the latest in navigation innovation for people with blindness. If you're in the market to purchase assistive technology for yourself or an organization, there's an exhibit hall, chock full of innovative new devices, and the latest versions of old favorites. This year, my fourth at CSUN, I worked the exhibit hall, trying to answer the question, "What's new and cool for people with blindness and low vision?"
Product Evaluations and Guides
Live on the Edge, or Have an Ultra Lifestyle?: An In-depth Review of HIMS and BAUM Braille Displays
by Scott Davert
In this in-depth article, I compare the VarioUltra from BAUM and the Braille Edge from HIMS. I chose these two units because they both have 40 cells of braille and are what the market seems to now call "smart displays," a term given to devices that do not perform all of the functions of a traditional notetaker. At the same time, these devices are able to accomplish more than just connecting to an external gadget such as a computer, tablet, or smart phone. This article examines the Braille Edge and VarioUltra for their connectivity, support while connecting with some external devices, internal applications, and physical appearance.
Book Review: Giving a Listen to The Untold Story of the Talking Book by Matthew Rubery
by Bill Holton
The concept of a "talking book" goes all the way back to Thomas Edison, whose very first recording was "Mary Had a Little Lamb." There's a lot of history between that first, lost recording and my latest Audible.com download. Happily, this history has been researched and compiled in an excellent new book from Harvard University Press, The Untold Story of the Talking Book, by Matthew Rubery. When I was 16 I read what was available; these days I read what I want. If I see an interesting author on TV, or hear about a great new book on NPR's Fresh Air, I can nearly always immediately find it in some accessible format. I can't imagine a life without books, and this book is a fascinating look at all it took to get us to where we are today.
Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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