Category Archives: ACB

ACB – Intel Read Aloud Reader

Got this on my ACB list. Another really cool product, another wad of cash needed.

***

Ben Foss was a bright kid, but as a student, he struggled with
reading even the
simplest text. Afflicted with severe dyslexia, he relied on
parents and tutors
to read him his homework since the words on the page made no
sense to him. At
Stanford, he managed to earn two advanced degrees by laboriously
scanning books
and then running them through synthetic speech software so he
could comprehend
the words.
As an adult, much of the content he wanted in professional
journals and
magazines wasn’t available in audio form.
So, when he was hired as a researcher at Intel, he vowed to make
designing a
reading device one of his first priorities. At CES 2010, his
brainchild, the
Intel Reader made its debut. “Feelings of loneliness are often
the experience of
not being able to read easily,” he says, based on years of
trying. “We hope to
open the doors for people who have dyslexia, blindness or other
reading-based
disabilities.”
The device, designed by Silicon Valley design shop, Lunar, for
Intel’s Digital
Health Group, is about the size of a paperback book or a
hand-held video game.
It works by taking a picture of a page of text, then converting
it to speech.
“It’s designed around the ergonomics of reading,” says Gretchen
Anderson,
director of interaction design, at Lunar. “It’s purposefully not
designed as a
digital camera. You can use it with your elbows on the table, at
the right
height.”
There are an estimated 55 million people with dyslexia, low
vision or blindness,
who find reading printed text difficult or impossible. In
addition to students,
the device is designed to be convenient for older people who find
it hard to
read restaurant menus or mail, and it has clever tactile cues,
such a corner cut
off like a dog eared book and buttons distinguishable by feel and
location, to
help the blind orient themselves.
A portable capture station allows users to scan larger amounts
of text, such as
complete books or journals. They can be saved, much as one would
with an ebook,
for listening later. The device comes with earphones for
listening privately, in
the car, or in class, and files can also be exported to MP3
players.
The device has been endorsed by the International Dyslexia
Association and will
be available for about $1,500 through CTL, Don Johnston
Incorporated, GTSI,
Howard Technology Solutions and HumanWare. The capture station
costs an extra
$400.
“At CES, we see people who love their iPhones,” says Lunar’s
director of
engineering, Robert Howard. “When Intel demo-ed this, people who
have dyslexia
could see their futures change when watching the device. It’s
truly a
transformative device for people who haven’t had a lot of
transformation in
their lives.”
[Intel Reader]
Copyright Ággc) 2010 Mansueto Ventures LLC. All rights
reserved.
Fast Company, 7 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007-2195

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Filed under ACB, assistive technologies, cool blinky stuff

Amazon Accessibility

So if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know about my fairly recent addiction haha! I think I first ordered from Amazon months ago, just to give it a try. But it wasn’t until recently that I really started using it. Back when I first started using it, I could review items. It was tricky, and not clear, but I was able to select stars. Well, they’ve done something and now I can no longer select stars, and therefore, can’t review. I rely heavily on customer reviews. Product descriptions usually suck, so I read the reviews to get a better description of the product. I won’t buy anything with less than 4 stars.

Recently I wrote to Amazon and I cannot for the life of me remember why. I must have been in that winter fog or something, and I didn’t keep what I wrote. But I did keep the reply, which mentioned their “accessible site” which I looked at for a minute and laughed. It’s the mobile site, and it sucks. Now, I use the mobile Facebook, and I like it. I don’t get all that fluff. The here is a pretty sparkly star to decorate your wall because you are a shining star, stuff. But with Amazon, I want the fluff. I want to review items.

So yesterday I got an email asking me to rate the seller of a recent purchase. I didn’t think it would work, but I followed the link, and low and behold, the stars option worked like a charm. It had clearly labeled links. I was able to rate all my sellers, including the dreaded ring seller. They all got glowing reviews, except the ring siller who got a 2. But I digress. I thought, maybe if that worked, I can review products now. Nope. Still the same. I even tried group mode with Alex to no avail.

So I dug out that email they had sent in reply to the email I can’t remember writing, and I wrote their accessibility department. Below is the email they sent me weeks ago, followed by the email I sent last night. They actually did make a great change to their “my orders” page, which I pointed out. I’ve got a few more suggestions for them if they write back. I’ll update here as this goes. Blinks, if you have any issues with Amazon you’d like to address, the following email from them has their accessibility email address, or you can tell me and I’ll include it in any future correspondence. You know I live for this stuff 😉

Oh, I had copied and pasted the email address because for some reason clicking it didn’t work. There is a period right after .com so make sure you delete that.

***

Hello from Amazon.com.

Thank you very much for your feedback. While the Amazon.com website is generally usable for people with screen readers, we’re always looking for ways to improve usability of the site for all customers, including those with disabilities. To that end, we have formed an alliance with the National Federation of the Blind to work together to improve the accessibility of our website platform in the coming months and years.

In case you weren’t aware, Amazon.com has for many years offered a different version of our site optimized for screen readers and mobile devices at: www.amazon.com/access

We’ve also gathered together products for the visually impaired (such as large print and Braille books, and voice-recognition software). I hope you find this store helpful: www.amazon.com/visuallyimpaired

We always appreciate suggestions on how we can improve the shopping experience at Amazon.com, and I’m forwarding your feedback to the team responsible for website accessibility. If you have additional feedback for our website accessibility team, you may contact them directly at accessibility-feedback@amazon.com.

Please Note: We cannot respond personally to messages sent to the feedback e-mail address. If you have a question or need help with your account or an open order, please contact Customer Service by visiting our Help pages at www.amazon.com/help and clicking the Contact Us button in the left-hand column.

Thank you for shopping at Amazon.com.

***

Hi there, 

I am blind and use a screen reader. I recently became very active on Amazon as it is so convenient for me to shop independently. However, I’m having some issues. I used to be able to leave reviews for products, but I can no longer select the number of stars. There is nothing to select. I just heard “please select stars” or something. Today, I was asked to leave seller feedback, and there I could select stars. They appeared as links I could click, with a clear description. I was hoping this would work for products now, but it did not. 

I use an Apple computer with Voiceover and Leopard with Safari. 

I find the mobile site an insult as a solution for screen reader users. It leaves out options, such as writing reviews at all. This might be fine for mobile devices, but as a screen reader user, I want the same options as sighted users. Please do not suggest I use that site. 

I do have a compliment though. I really like the new “my orders” page. This set up is lovely! First, I can navigate my orders by heading, which is great. Additionally, I love the “track your package” link. It is wonderful to have the latest tracking information so readily available. I would love to see the heading option on the main search pages, as scrolling to different products is quite tedious. I’ve heard this complaint among other blind people as well. 

I will never stop using Amazon. I wish to tell you though, that I’ve had countless screen reader users tell me they won’t even touch Amazon, which is a shame. If I can help in any way, I would love the opportunity. I would also like to leave reviews because I rely on reviews to buy things. Product descriptions are usually pretty weak, so I rely on what others say, and would like to do the same for the wonderful products I have found. 

Thank you very much for your time and consideration of my suggestions. 

***

Well I just listened to their email again, and it sounds like they won’t respond directly from the accessibility email. Hmmm. But, the same thing was true with Facebook, and I had a human write me, so here’s hoping.

Also, I had forgotten that the NFB was involved. I wonder if the NFB thought the mobile site was good enough. Ick. I’m all ACB all the time hahaha!

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Filed under ACB, accessibility, advocacy, Alex, Amazon, assistive technologies, letters, proud geek, screen reader, Voiceover

ACB – International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Forwarded to me from my ACB list:
***

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
December 2, 2009
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES, 2009

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

This year, in an effort to renew our global commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms for persons with disabilities, the United States became a proud signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This treaty represents a paradigm shift, urging equal protection and benefits for all citizens, and reaffirming the inherent dignity and independence of the 650 million people living with disabilities worldwide. Today, as we commemorate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we celebrate the skills, achievements, and contributions of persons with disabilities in America and around the world. We recognize the progress we have made toward equality for all, and we rededicate ourselves to ensuring individuals with disabilities can reach their greatest potential.

Despite our increased efforts, persons with disabilities continue to face barriers to their full participation in society. In the United States, Americans with disabilities still experience discrimination in the workplace and in their communities. In developing nations, 90 percent of children with disabilities do not attend school, and women and girls with disabilities are all too often subjected to deep discrimination. If we are to move forward as a people, both at home and abroad, all individuals must be fully integrated into our human family. The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is a time to renew our commitment to the principles of empowerment, dignity, and equality. The United States has co-sponsored and joined consensus on the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee’s resolution titled, “Realizing the Millennium Development Goals for Persons with Disabilities.” We must continue to embrace diversity and reject discrimination in all its forms, and insist on equality of opportunity and accessibility for all. Let our efforts remind us that when we work together, we can build a world free of unnecessary barriers and include every member of our international community.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, more do hereby proclaim December 3, 2009, as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. I call on all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this second day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA

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Filed under ACB, advocacy, gratitude

ACB – captain GPS from ILA

Wow. I want I want I want!!!!

***

Kapten Personal GPS Voice Navigator
ILA Item 240460

The city is best when it’s never the same

The Concept
Kapten
The first voice GPS for smart urbanites

GPS is great – until you get out of your car….
Which is why Kapsys is introducing the very first smart urban navigator with
no screen!
The ultra-compact Kapten is 100% voice interactive and incredibly simple.
Enjoying life in the city has never been so easy…!

The backstory…

Back in 2006, Kapsys creator Aram Hekimian was visiting Tokyo when he had kind of a
wild idea. What if you were lost in a city where the streets didn’t have numbers- or even
names, for that matter- and you were desperate to get to that little hotel that promised to
save the last room for you? And that’s how Aram came up with concept of a GPS that
would be so light and so small and compact, you could just carry in your pocket and find
your way around any city in the world.
The idea was one thing, but he admittedly had doubts, not to mention quite a few questions
to be answered. He sought out advice. Some said the concept was risky, others thought
it was bold. He became convinced that there was a real need for a GPS that would in
fact be a little more than just a GPS. And he became persuaded that navigating without
a screen was a powerful asset, because he knew that a device like this would really be
useful when people weren’t in a car. So he decided it was time for action.
In 2007 he founded Kapsys, a 100-percent French company that’s totally independent and
100-percent equity financed. He put together a tight-knit team of the best people and the
best partners. A year later, he unveiled Kapten: the first voice GPS for smart urbanites.

More than just a GPS…
Multi-transport navigation
Geotagging
Audio guide
MP3 player 1 GB/FM radio
USB key
Community website

The benefits of screenless…
Ultra-compact size
(7cm high, only 50 grams)
Record autonomy
(4-5 hours of operation)
Optimum safety
(eyes are always on the sidewalk or street)
Hands-free
(voice control)

Uses

Multifunction friend in the city for huge fun

K-multimove: Life is about more than cars…

Kapten adapts to the way you get around – on foot, bicycle, motorcycle, public transportation or car. It automatically adjusts your itinerary and directs you using the navigation mode you choose with a simple voice command.

If you’re walking, for example, one-way streets or cutting through the park aren’t a problem. Kapten never routes you the long way around…or just default to big highways. On a bicycle, it knows you need to avoid highways and chooses bike paths whenever they’re available. And of course it has more “conventional” GPS functions when you do use a motorcycle or car, but with simple and safer voice controls.

K-tag: The new must for “Urban Trotters”!

Just press a button and Kapten records a place you’ve spotted-a restaurant, bar, store or meeting point. Once you record it, all you need to do is add a voice memo with a simple voice command. Then just say the name and Kapten leads you
right where you want to go. It’s as simple as that.

Plus, the Openshare community on www.kapsys.com lets you post and add comments for your geotags, keeping them private or sharing them with others if you like. You can also download and use geotags posted by other “urban trotters”. A great way to rediscover your own city or other cities that quickly become as familiar as your home town!

K-connect: Phone too (yes! you really can!)

Kapten connects to your mobile phone via a Bluetooth® coonection so you don’t have to change earphones. Just synchronize and say the name of the person you want to call. If you receive a call while your Kapten is
in navigation or MP3/FM mode it tells you who’s calling and you just press a key to answer.

That’s not all- you can sync your Kapten to display your route right on your phone screen too.

K-play: The city is your playground…

MP3/FM radio:
Choose from all of your downloaded songs or tune into your favorite FM station in seconds, all hands-free of course, thanks to voice
commands. You’ll love the exceptional superior audio quality too.

USB key:
Store up to 1 GB in the USB flash memory.

Audio Guide:
Discover or rediscover monuments and
places of interest in the world’s great
cities without weighing yourself down
with guide books.

Features:

Kapten

Multi-transport navigation:
Pedestrian, public transportation, bicycle, motorcycle, car. Public transportation maps for major cities.

Mobile phone call management
Bluetooth® mobile phone interface

Voice control interface:
Destination input
Navigation instructions
Radio station selection
Artist or album selection (from MP3 files)
Call management (take a call, call back etc.)

Optional user interface via mobile phone (see list of compatible Bluetooth®handsets on www.kapsys.com/support)

Create K-tags

FM radio
MP3 player and USB flash drive (1 GB capacity)

Technical specifications:
Kapten

• size 74 x 44 x 13 mm (H x L x D)
• weight 50 grams
• memory 1 GB
• GPS SiRF Star III
• antennas Built-in
• maps Tele Atlas
• Bluetooth® 2.0
• micro USB 2.0 FullSpeed
• battery 750 mA
• audio player MP3 Format
• warranty 1 year
• speech recognition & text-to-speech: Nuance®
• Will work with PC’s running (Windows 2000, XP, Vista) and on the Mac running (OS X 10.4)
• USB Charger
• stereo earphones with built-in microphone
USB cable
• portable speaker
• battery backup: extra 17 hours of rechargeable battery life
• carrying case

For Technical Support on the Kapten purchased through Independent Living Aids, please contact:

Technical Support
Phone: (800) 537-2118

Email:

techsupport@independentliving.com

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Filed under ACB, assistive technologies, NaBloPoMo 2009

Geek alert – I thought I loved Apple before…

Below is an email I received from the ACB list. Wow. Let me know if I need to convert URLs included in the message to links.

***

“If they keep this up, I’ll be a Mac user before long, at least for home use! — {Email lister}

The National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH has created guidelines for
content providers who would like to create accessible iTunes U media via
captions, subtitles and audio descriptions. This guidelines document
provides step-by-step documentation on creating fully accessible media,
including:

? Closed captions and audio descriptions that the user can turn on or off as
needed.
? Open subtitles and descriptions that are available to everyone watching or
listening.
? Closed subtitles for adding multiple language tracks to video files.
? Accessible PDFs.

Also included with the guidelines are links to eight video and audio clips
that illustrate the various forms of accessible media discussed in the
document. Using these guidelines, iTunes U content providers can create
content that all people can learn from including people with vision and
hearing loss.

To access the Creating Accessible iTunes U Content guidelines document and
related media, see Creating Accessible iTunes U Content
0579900> .

VICUG-L is the Visually Impaired Computer User Group List.
Archived on the World Wide Web at
http://listserv.icors.org/archives/vicug-l.html
Signoff: vicug-l-unsubscribe-request@listserv.icors.org
Subscribe: vicug-l-subscribe-request@listserv.icors.org”

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Filed under ACB, accessibility, apple Inc, assistive technologies, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2009, proud geek

ACB: Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act Update

I don’t have the original Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act information, but it has to do with making quiet cars make noise, and other pedestrian safety concerns. This email contained a list of the representatives on board, and ACB is asking that the people not yet on board be contacted. I wish I had more information, but I’m pretty sure the legislation can be found online if searched for, and might even be somehwere on acb.org.

***

I am quite pleased to share with all of you the updated cosponsorship list for the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act. There are 147 cosponsors in the House and 13 in the Senate. The full list is beneath this message.

If you haven’t done so already, please call or write your member to thank him-her for signing on. For those members who have not yet climbed aboard, Rep. Towns staff is impressed with the continued interest in this issue by other House and Senate staff. This is largely due to ACB’s tireless advocacy on this issue.
Keep it up!

Cosponsors H.R. 734
Cosponsors S. 841

H.R. 734, the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2009
147 Cosponsors
111th Congress
October 21, 2009

Rep Neil Abercrombie – Hawaii
Rep Rodney Alexander – Louisiana
Rep Roscoe G. Bartlett – Maryland
Rep Shelley Berkley – Nevada
Rep Howard L. Berman – California
Rep Marion Berry – Arkansas
Rep Judy Biggert – Illinois
Rep Gus M. Bilirakis – Florida
Rep Rob Bishop – Utah
Rep Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. – Georgia
Rep Earl Blumenauer – Oregon
Rep Roy Blunt – Missouri
Rep John Boozman – Arizona
Rep Madeleine Z. Bordallo – Guam
Rep Dan Boren – Oklahoma
Rep Leonard L. Boswell – Iowa
Rep Robert A. Brady – Pennsylvania
Rep Bruce L. Braley – Iowa
Rep Corrine Brown – Florida
Rep Anh “Joseph” Cao – Louisiana
Rep Lois Capps – California
Rep Michael E. Capuano – Massachusetts
Rep Russ Carnahan – Missouri
Rep Christopher P. Carney – Pennsylvania
Rep Andre Carson – Indiana
Rep Yvette D. Clarke – New York
Rep Steve Cohen – Tennessee
Rep Gerald E. “Gerry” Connolly – Virginia
Rep John Conyers Jr. – Michigan
Rep Jerry Costello – Illinois
Rep Joe Courtney – Connecticut
Rep Ander Crenshaw – Florida
Rep Elijah Cummings – Maryland
Rep Kathleen Dahlkemper – Pennsylvania
Rep Danny K. Davis – Illinois
Rep Peter A. DeFazio – Oregon
Rep William D. Delahunt – Massachusetts
Rep Michael F. Doyle – Pennsylvania
Rep Steve Driehaus – Ohio
Rep Donna Edwards – Maryland
Rep Keith Ellison – Minnesota
Rep Brad Ellsworth – Indiana
Rep Jo Ann Emerson – Missouri
Rep Chaka Fattah – Pennsylvania
Rep Bob Filner – California
Rep Bill Foster – Illinois
Rep Sam Graves – Missouri
Rep Al Greene – Texas
Rep Gene Green – Texas
Rep Raul M. Grijalva – Arizona
Rep Luis V. Gutierrez – Illinois
Rep Phil Hare – Illinois
Rep Jane Harman – California
Rep Alcee L. Hastings – Florida
Rep Martin Heinrich – New Mexico
Rep Stephanie Sandlin Herseth – South Dakota
Rep Maurice D. Hinchey – New York
Rep Mazie K. Hirono – Hawaii
Rep Tim Holden – Pennsylvania
Rep Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. – Illinois
Rep Henry C. “Hank,” Johnson Jr. – Georgia
Rep Walter B. Jones, Jr. – North Carolina
Rep Paul E. Kanjorski – Pennsylvania
Rep Marcy Kaptur – Ohio
Rep Patrick J. Kennedy – Rhode Island
Rep Steve King – Iowa
Rep Larry Kissell – North Carolina
Rep Frank Kratovil, Jr. – Maryland
Rep Leonard Lance – New Jersey
Rep Tom Latham – Iowa
Rep Steven C. LaTourette – Ohio
Rep Barbara Lee – California
Rep John Lewis – Georgia
Rep Daniel Lipinski – Illinois
Rep David Loebsack – Iowa
Rep Nita M. Lowey – New York
Rep Daniel E. Lungren – California
Rep Carolyn B. Maloney – New York
Rep Donald A. Manzullo – Illinois
Rep Edward J. Markey – Massachusetts
Rep Doris O. Matsui – California
Rep Betty McCollum – Minnesota
Rep Jim McDermott – Washington
Rep James P. McGovern – Massachusetts
Rep Mike McIntyre – North Carolina
Rep Charlie Melancon – Louisiana
Rep John L. Mica – Florida
Rep Michael H. Michaud – Maine
Rep Brad Miller – North Carolina
Rep Jeff Miller – Florida
Rep Walter Minnick – Idaho
Rep Alan B. Mollohan – West Virginia
Rep Gwen Moore – Wisconsin
Rep James P. Moran – Virginia
Rep Jerrold Nadler – New York
Rep Richard E. Neal – Massachusetts
Rep Randy Neugebauer – Texas
Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton – Washington, DC
Rep James L. Oberstar – Minnesota
Rep Ed Pastor – Arizona
Rep Donald Payne – New Jersey
Rep Collin C. Peterson – Minnesota
Rep Thomas E. Petri – Wisconsin
Rep Pedro R. Pierluisi – Puerto Rico
Rep Chellie Pingree – Maine
Rep Todd Russell Platts – Pennsylvania
Rep Earl Pomeroy – North Dakota
Rep David E. Price – North Carolina
Rep Nick J. Rahall., II – West Virginia
Rep Charles B. Rangel– New York
Rep David P. Roe – Tennessee
Rep Dana Rohrabacher – California
Rep lleana Ros-Lehtinen – Florida
Rep Peter J. Roskam – Illinois
Rep Steven R. Rothman – New Jersey
Rep C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger – Maryland
Rep Tim Ryan – Ohio
Rep Linda T. Sanchez – California
Rep John P. Sarbanes – Maryland
Rep Janice D. Schakowsky – Illinois
Rep Adam B. Schiff – California
Rep Jose E. Serrano – New York
Rep Pete Sessions – Texas
Rep Joe Sestak – Pennsylvania
Rep Carol Shea-Porter – New Hampshire
Rep Heath Shuler – North Carolina
Rep Albio Sires – New Jersey
Rep Pete Fortney Stark – California
Rep Cliff Stearns – Florida
Rep Betty Sutton – Ohio
Rep Ellen O. Tauscher – California
Rep Gene Taylor – Mississippi
Rep Harry Teague – New Mexico
Rep Lee Terry – Nebraska
Rep Glen Thompson – Pennsylvania
Rep John F. Tierney – Massachusetts
Rep Dina Titus – Nevada
Rep Chris Van Hollen – Maryland
Rep Timothy J. Walz – Minnesota
Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz – Florida
Rep Maxine Waters – California
Rep Peter Welch – Vermont
Rep Robert Wexler – Florida
Rep Charles A. Wilson – Ohio
Rep Robert J. Wittman – Virginia
Rep David Wu – Oregon
Rep Don Young – Alaska

S. 841 13 Cosponsors
October 20, 2009

Sen. Evan Bayh – Indiana
Sen. Robert F. Bennett – Utah
Sen. Richard Burr – North Carolina
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin – Maryland
Sen. Richard Durbin – Illinois
Sen. Orrin G. Hatch – Utah
Sen. Edward Kennedy – Massachusetts
Sen. Barbara Mikulski – Maryland
Sen. Arlen Specter – Pennsylvania
Sen. David Vitter – Louisiana
Sen. Roger Wicker – Mississippi
Sen. Susan Collins – Maine
Sen. Sam Brow

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Filed under ACB, advocacy, politics

ACB: Hate crimes bill includes persons with disabilities

Shows how ignorant I’ve been, to not even realize hate crimes were committed against persons with disabilities, until I learned that we are now included in the hate crimes bill.

***

Below is a press release from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights regarding the passage of hate crimes legislation. This legislation that was attached to the 2010 Defense Authorization, protects individuals with disabilities.

Senate Sends Landmark Hate Crimes Bill to President Obama

October 22, 2009 – Posted by Tyler Lewis

Today, the Senate gave final congressional approval 68-29 to the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expands the definition
of federal hate crimes and removes unnecessary obstacles to federal prosecution.

With President Obama likely to sign the Act into law soon, civil rights groups are celebrating a historic achievement following more than a decade of advocacy.

“We applaud lawmakers for recognizing the fundamental right of all Americans to be protected from violence because of their race, the way they worship,
their sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. Congress’ decision to pass this bill sends a clear message to these victims of violence
and their families – individuals like Stephen Tyrone Johns of Washington, D.C., Sean Kennedy of South Carolina, Angie Zapata of Colorado, Luis Ramirez
of Pennsylvania, and Matthew Shepard of Wyoming – that we value every American’s basic civil and human right to be safe and free from physical harm,”
Wade Henderson
, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said.

The Act authorizes the federal government to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated crimes based on the victim’s actual or perceived sexual orientation,
gender, gender identity, or disability. Currently, the Department of Justice can only investigate hate crimes motivated by the victim’s race, color, religion,
and national origin when the victim is engaged in a federally protected activity, such as serving on a jury

The bill also gives the federal government jurisdiction over prosecuting hate crimes in states where the current law is inadequate or when local authorities
are unwilling or do not have the resources to do so themselves. Local authorities would also receive additional resources to combat hate crimes.

A version of the Act was introduced 12 years ago, and the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed some version of it at various times since
then. A diverse coalition of more than 300 civil rights, professional, civic, educational, and religious groups, 26 state attorneys general, U.S. Attorney
General Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh, and virtually every major national law enforcement organizations in America rallied
in support of the Act over the years, recognizing that

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ACB: Victor warning and info on ACB posts

I am a member of an email list for the ACB – American Council of the blind.

I get a lot of really good information on that list, and we’ve been down since I started this blog. We’re back up, so I’m going to start passing along information that is valuable to the blind community and our sighted partners.

First one I want to mention is a warning about the Victor Stream that a woman on the list posted about her personal experience with getting on on Ebay. I’m really glad she let us know, and want to share it with my fellow Victor lovers.

(All personal information and names will be omitted in any ACB postings)

***

Hi. I wanted to let you all know something that I have recently learned the hard way about the Victor players by Humanware. Be real careful about purchasing the ones you see on Ebay. I know some people have expressed interest in that possibility.
Well, apparently, Humanware had some older versions before the Victor Stream and these are selling now because while they are great little devices and play a wide variety of formats, and look like a Stream in every other way, they are not the Stream in that you cannot one, upgrade them to the Stream, and you cannot play the NLS books on them.
You’ll know the difference because the Stream have serial numbers that begin with 951.

How did I learn this? When I attempted to get mine NLS ready and learned that mine is not, in fact, a Stream. I bought one of the older versions from Maxiaids not realizing the difference. So now, I’m essentially stuck having to either buy another VR Stream, or the Booksense, or just use the NLS player when it is distributed or whatever else is out. And I’m not happy about this, let me tell you.

Just a word of warning there.

*

****

Ok, so there’s that from an ACB member. I will definitly take this warning to heart, and I will buy from the actual Victor people if I can ever afford it. 😉

Keep an ear out for future postings from ACB. I’ve gotten some interesting emails to post,a lot of them doing with laws and legislation. The only way to be advocates for ourselves and our blind friends is by being informed.

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Filed under ACB, advocacy, assistive technologies