Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Insight Radio

Photo of Insight Radio Logo
This Internet radio station is from our neighbor across the ocean: The UK. On this site, you'll hear news, music, lifestyle, entertainment, technology, and talk shows that appeal to the Visually Impaired and the Blind.
  • Early Edition features Steven Scott, who makes newspapers accessible. 
  • Afternoon Edition features Allan Russell with the afternoon edition of the news
  • Sunday with Steven is news on Sunday
  • Morning Mix features Simon Pauley with a mix of music and features for visually impaired people
  • Daily Lunch with Jill Daley makes magazines accessible including Heat and Cosmopolitan
  • Talking Books is where you can find out about RNIB Talking Book service and listen to a classic piece of literature every day
  • Sunset Melodies with Gary Moritz presents an eclectic mix from the 30s to the 50s
  • Pure 80s features Roger Cole and the decade of decadence
  • Music Box is Sanda Gayer's classical music hits
  • The Buzz features Barry Snell with a mix of music and chat
  • Insight Entertainment features Jill Daley with a roundup of the week's biggest showbiz stories
  • Saturday with Allan features newspapers, sport and technology news
  • Tech Talk with Steven Scott is Insight Radio's inclusive technology show
  • You'll also hear the weather, but it will be in England and Scotland! 
The site features large text, high contrast and is built with accessibility in mind. It is compatible with Jaws, Narrator, Voiceover, Thunder, Zoomtext, and Supernova.

You can listen live (love the British accent) or listen to podcasts. Visit Insight Radio at http://www.insightradio.co.uk

Blind Mice Mega Mall from Allison Fallin

Blind Mice Mega Mall has been designed specifically for use by the Visually Impaired and the Blind.  The free membership includes access to the mall where you can buy books, software, games, cooking gadgets, housewares, sporting goods, automotive, games, gardening supplies, and gifts. In addition, the site provides free access to movies (audio only) with extra audio cues telling what is happening in each scene.

Link for Blind Mice Mega Mall: http://www.blindmicemegamall.com/

Friday, December 14, 2012

Facebook Accessibility

Facebook has recently added a page on it's site dedicated to accessibility.
News and updates from the Facebook Accessibility team will be posted to this page. Visit

for more information.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A good article to read

Apple  puts eye into iDevices

Apple has for years led the general computing industry in building software that allows disabled people to work and play on almost level computing and communications fields with the rest of the community.

Friday, November 30, 2012

TCB Christmas Party

Hello to all TCB members and friends!

I am getting excited about the upcoming TCB Christmas party and I hope that you are too!

Three snowmen with banner that
says "A Christmas Party"
Fantastic news – our meal will cost $8.95 per person instead of $10.95! Yes, that’s correct. Each individual will need to pay $8, and TCB will pay the balance. We will have turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, cranberry relish, green beans, rolls, and pumpkin pie! All of this for only $8.95 per person.

We also will be playing that favorite game we have played in the past. Some call it the Dirty Santa game, but I don’t like the sound of that. So, we will just call it the gift exchange game. Whatever you want to call it, if you want to play, you will need to bring a wrapped gift. Do not put a name on the package, and it should cost no more than $10. Game rules will be coming in a future email. This is not a gag gift game, but it should be a gift that you yourself wouldn’t mind taking home with you.

We will have more coming in the future about the party, but just be sure to mark it on your calendar and plan to attend!

Date:  Saturday, December 15, 2012
Time:  3:00 PM to 7:00 P.M.
Place:  West Tulsa Free Will Baptist Church Family Life Center
                930 W. 23rd Place, Tulsa, OK

See you there!!!

If you would like to come to the party, but have transportation issues, please call me and we will do what we can to get you there.

Julie Bailey
TCB President

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Deanna Jones Takes Law Exam Using Zoom Text

Read about how Deanna Jones won her case to take her law exam using Zoom Text and Kurzweil 3000.  Deanna Jones Sworn in to Defend Law She Tested Herself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beginner's Guide to Echolocation

Photo of book, Beginner's
Guide to Echolocation
Echolocation is the ability to "see" objects using sound instead of sight. Beginner's Guide to Echolocation by Tim Johnson provides exercises, examples and lessons in echolocation.

The book is available in accessible MSWord format, as well as an audio mp3.

Get ready to bid! Get ready to buy!

Get ready to support the American Council of the Blind 2012 Holiday Auction.
Our first ACB Holiday Auction is filled with great holiday gift ideas, collectibles, and holiday treats.  It will be held on Sunday, December 2, from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Eastern Time (4:00 to 7:00 PM Pacific).  Originating from the ClearChannel studios in Louisville, Kentucky, the auction will be live-streamed on all ACB RADIO channels, and all proceeds benefit ACB Radio.

Colts Signed Football
Here's how it will work:
  • Reminiscent of radio auctions from yesteryear, several items will be up for bid at the same time. 
  • Items will be announced and described, and bidding on each item will remain open for several minutes.
  • To place a bid, just telephone us during the time that the item you want is open for bid.  Bids will be announced on the air.  If you are outbid, you can call back and bid again.  We will announce when an item is about to close.  Winners will be announced on the air.
  • Several telephone lines will be available for bidding.  The numbers to call are 877-560-7900 (toll-free) or 502-571-7900.
  • All items will be sold as is, and all sales will be final.  Shipping charges will be added to the final sales price.  For those purchasing multiple items, shipping will be combined whenever possible.  More information about shipping charges will be provided during the auction.
  • Bidders will be required to provide contact and credit card information during the course of the auction; bids will not be accepted and items will not be shipped to a winning bidder in the absence of such information.
  • Except for baked goods and other food items, auction items will be shipped from our Minneapolis office during the week of December 3.  Cookies, candies and other holiday treats will be shipped from the point of origin; ACB cannot guarantee the shipping date.
  • Visit the Auction Preview page at www.acb.org/preview to check out all of the great items up for bid.  You'll find photos and descriptions of each item.  If you'd like to see larger photos of an item, just choose the link near it's description.
  • Then tune in to ACB Radio on Sunday, December 2, at 7:00 PM Eastern (6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, and 4:00 Pacific) for all the fun.

Happy bargain-hunting, and thanks for supporting ACB Radio.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Having trouble reading prescription labels?

Photo of ScripTalk Station
reading a prescription bottle.
ScripTalk Station is the answer!  With ScripTalk, you can hear the drug name, the dosage, instructions for use, warnings and contraindications, pharmacy information, doctor's name, and prescription number. All you have to do is press a button and place the special Talking Label over the reader.

ScripTalk Station uses RFID and text-to-speech technology. It's lightweight, easy to carry in your purse or bag, and includes an earphone jack for privacy.

For more information or to order, check the ScripTalk website.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

TCB Meeting - Nov. 16

The November meeting of the Tulsa Council of the Blind will be on Friday, 
November 16 from 6 PM to 7:30 P.M.. Location for the meeting is the West 
Tulsa Free Will Baptist Church in the Family Life Center, 930 W. 23rd Place in 

Voting for our 2013 TCB Board of Directors will take place at this meeting. 
In order to vote, you must be a current paid TCB member. Dues are $5 for the
2013 year, so bring your $5 and vote for those members you want to lead TCB 
in the future!

Dinner is available before the meeting for a cost of $5 per person. If you 
plan to eat, please try to arrive no later than 5:30 P.M..

The TCB Christmas Party is scheduled for December 15 from 3pm to 7 pm. It 
will take place at the West Tulsa Free Will Baptist Church as well. Plans 
for the party are being made, and details will be sent out as soon as they are 

Please make plans to attend the November meeting and December party - you 
won't want to miss out on the fun and fellowship!

See you there!!!

Julie Bailey, TCB President



Wednesday, October 31, 2012

News Release: Social Security

Logo: Social Security

News Release

 Social Security Announces 1.7 Percent Benefit Increase for 2013

Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 62 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2013, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits that more than 56 million Social Security beneficiaries receive in January 2013.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2012.

Some other changes that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages.  Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $113,700 from $110,100.  Of the estimated 163 million workers who will pay Social Security taxes in 2013, nearly 10 million will pay higher taxes as a result of the increase in the taxable maximum.

Information about Medicare changes for 2013, when announced, will be available atwww.Medicare.gov <http://www.medicare.gov/> .  For some beneficiaries, their Social Security increase may be partially or completely offset by increases in Medicare premiums. 

The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.  To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

Monday, October 22, 2012

MacForTheBlind for Visually Impaired using Apple Products

Macfortheblind.com is a place specifically for blind people who are either users or potential users of Macintosh computers or iOS devices, such as the iPhone, iPad or iPod. I am a blind individual who has used the Mac ever since VoiceOver became available in OS 10.4 Tiger, and I own a Mac Mini, Mac Book Pro laptop computer, and both an iPhone 4S and iPad 3rd generation. In addition, I am an Authorized Apple Business Affiliate, and as an Apple Certified Support Professional for Mac OS X Lion, I offer training and technical support for individuals, agencies and organizations on the mac and all iDevices, as well as offering assistive technology consulting.
Photo of Boy, Girl, iPhone, and Other Mac Products
Macfortheblind.com seeks to do the following:
1.      Provide information and answers to common questions about VoiceOver on the Mac or iOS devices.
2.      Make available “how to” posts, tips and tricks, and other basic tutorials on a variety of Mac and iOS related subjects, such as software and apps.
3.      Provide resources, links to podcasts, and other useful links to other Mac related sites in our community.
4.      Offer help for common and even not so common technical support issues on the Mac or iDevices.
5.      Make available opportunities for training with VoiceOver on either the Mac or on iOS devices.
6.      Offer training and demonstration videos and/or podcasts.
7.      Offer advertisement opportunities for developers and other companies.

Overall, our hope is to provide another location for technical support and education for both veteran users and new users alike. We are quite aware that there are a growing number of sites out there that attempt to do this, and we do not seek to compete or detract from them. As the community of blind users of the Mac platform and iDevices continues to grow, additional resources for us all will only help everyone.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blind boy, 7, become jazz sensation . . .

Jose Andre Montano Baina is a rising star in Bolivia's music scene although he's blind and only seven-years-old. .

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In the News: Help for the Blind and Visually Impaired

In the news: iPhone app, tactile pavements, braille fashion, sports and digitizing books.

Fleksy: A mobile keyboard app for the blind that the sighted will love too. Type your message in the general area of the correct letters and its prediction engine will correct your typing mistakes.

Photo of Fleksy mobile keyboard app.
Tactile pavements - embossed bars that help the blind and visually impaired move around in shopping centers, airports and hospitals. Unfortunately, they are only in Japan. When will we get them here?

Photo of tactile pavements in train station.
Not really news, but I thought this one was fun. A t-shirt designer who is using braille designs on clothes: Canadian Raised Braille Fashions.

Photo of t-shirts made with braille designs. 
Blind archer set world record in London 2012 olympics - from July 2012. Don't say "I can't do it!"

Photo of blind archer in front of target. 
Google ruling on digitizing books - federal judge concluded that digitizing books in order to enhance research and provide access for the blind and visually impaired is lawful.
Photo of e-book reader and books.

TCB's White Cane Awareness Walk Made Channel Six!

KOTV Channel 6 in Tulsa aired the Tulsa Council of the Blind White Cane Awareness Walk last night on the 10 pm news. News reporter Lacie Lowry followed us down Peoria while twenty-two blind and sighted individuals followed Representative Jeannie McDaniel and Senator Brian Crain as they took turns walking blindfolded and using a white cane. I believe they got the picture about some of the issues facing blind and visually impaired persons who travel the streets of Tulsa. They also got to experience the kinds of information received when using a cane.

Julie Bailey
TCB President

Photo of News Reporter Lacie Lowry interviewing
TCB President, Julie Bailey

Photo of TCB Members gathering
 for the White Cane Awareness Walk

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Monthly Meeting and Dinner - October 12, 2012

Our October meeting will be held from 6:00-7:30 pm, on October 12, 2012. at the West Tulsa Free Will Baptist Church in the Family Life Center (2332 S. Nogales Ave, Tulsa, OK. 

  • Welcome by President Julie Bailey
  • Secretary’s Report Allison F.
  • Treasurer’s Report – Jesse M. 
  • Old Business: White Cane Safety Day Walk – Julie Bailey
  • New Business:
  • Discussion of October 20th Strategic planning meeting  Julie Bailey
  • Reading of Nominated Slate of 2013 TCB Officers – Joe Fallin
  • Committee to plan annual Christmas Party – Julie Bailey
  • Come at 5:30 for dinner. Cost of dinner is $5.00 each (plus tip, if you can).

Friday, September 28, 2012

Technology Ideas from Brian Charlson

Brian Charlson is a wealth of information, and he didn't disappoint the attendees of the OCB Convention on Friday, September 28, 2012.

Photo of iPhone with
Omoby app installed
Here are some of his favorite iPhone, iPod and/or iPad apps:

  • VizWiz - allows blind users to receive quick answers to questions about their surroundings
  • Omoby - snap a photo of a product or scan a barcode to access shopping information
  • Digit-Eyes - reads barcode labels, enabling people without vision to scan UPC/EAN codes and hear the names of over 25 million products. Users can also make their own barcode labels on the Digit-Eyes website and print them on inexpensive address labels.

Other technology resources from Charlson:

What's happening at the OCB Convention?

Friday was jam packed with helpful information for the attendees of the Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention in Tulsa, OK. After a brief welcome, OCB President Jay Doudna introduced Brian Charlson, the Director of Computer Training Services at the Carroll Center for the Blind. Charlson spoke about accessible distance learning as well as gave demonstrations on the latest and greatest in assistive technology. 
Photo of Brian Charlson shares
 his knowledge of assistive technology.
Next, Melissa Sublett, attorney with the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, discussed how work affects SSI and SSDI. After lunch of pizza, Brian Charlson discussed Assistive technology in the workplace and best practices by rehabilitation professionals.

Photo of Brian Carlson speaking to a room full of
convention attendees.
Kim Charlson, Director of the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library and first Vice-President of the American Council of the Blind, spoke on the services of the American Council of the Blind and the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library. The evening ended with a light dinner, a welcome by Convention Chairman Jesse Martinez and OCB President Jay Doudna, and a fun night of Bingo and Word Trivia.

Photo of
Convention Chairman Jesse Martinez
Everyone seems to be enjoying the convention, including Ruthie's dog Ivanna! 

Photo of Charlie, Ruthie, and Ivanna
at the OCB Convention. Ivanna is peeking
out from under the table.

Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention is in Progress!

The theme is Building a Strong Foundation for Tomorrow. Held at the Wyndham Garden Hotel, 10918 E. 41st Street, Tulsa, OK

Although the Oklahoma Council of the Blind Convention has already started, you still have time to attend! Saturday's agenda is as follows:

7:30 am - 5:30 pm, Visit Exhibitors

8:00 am - 10:00 am, Registration

9:10 am - 9:50 am, Tricks and Tips: Rehabilitation Teacher Activity presented by Marilyn Sanders

9:50 am - 10:20 am, What is the job of the DRS Rehabilitation Commission and Who Can Help? presented by Commissioner Ray Kirk

10:40 am - 11:10 am, Meditation Speaker presented by Keeley Mancuso

11:10 am - 12:10 pm, choice of seminars: Rehabilitation Updates, Blind Veterans, Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, or Oklahoma School for the Blind

12:10 pm - 1:00 pm, Lunch

1:00 pm - 1:30 pm, Descriptive Video and the 21st Century Telecommunications Act presented by Brian and Kim Charlson

1:30 pm - 2:00 pm, Braille Authority of North America: An Overview by Kim Charlson

2:20 pm - 2:50 pm, Introduction to the World Blind Union by Kim Charlson

2:50 pm - 3:30 pm, Self defense by Blake Hayes (instructor at Broken Arrow Karate Club)

3:30 pm - 4:10 pm, IOS devices for iMacs and end users, by Amy Salmon (Hadley School for the Blind)

7:00 pm, Banquet, speaker Kim Charlson

Seminar for Blinded Vets

Older Blinded Veterans and the Future
Date: Thursday, October 4Time: 10:00 AM CDT, 15:00 GMT

Are you a blinded veteran and worried about your financial future and that of your loved ones? Are you fully prepared financially for the years ahead? 

Join Seminars@Hadley as Urban Miyares, a blinded veteran and member of the “Baby Boom” generation, shares his thoughts on preparing for a more financially secure future. For more information or to register, go to the Hadley School for the Blind website

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Blind Chef Christine Ha Crowned MasterChef

Congratulations to Christine Ha, who is the winner on season three of MasterChef, a cooking competition series on FOX. What's different about this cook? She's blind. 

Christine Ha, MasterChef Winner
Christine was diagnosed in 2003 with a rare autoimmune disease called Neuromyelitis Optica and lost her vision over the next eight years. Although she can see shadows, she describes it as "eternally walking through a cloud." 

But it didn't stop her. She overcame her challenges and went on to become a writer and MasterChef.  If she can do it, so can you! 

You can read more about Christine and her cooking adventures on her blog, The Blind Cook.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

TCB is now on Facebook!

Tulsa Council of the Blind is now on Facebook. If you're on Facebook, be sure to "Like" our page and share it with your friends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Low Vision/Blind Support Group Meeting in Tulsa, OK

Hello Everyone,

It's that time again. Time to socialize, have a yummy meal, and do some planning for the future for TCB. 

Dinner Meeting - sketch
of plate, fork, knife and spoon
We'll meet on September 14, from 6 to 7:30. If you would like to enjoy the meal, please do your best to be at the meeting by 5:30. The meal this month will be chicken salad sandwiches, chips, beverage, and dessert. The cost is $5.00 each.

We'll meet at the West Tulsa Freewill Baptist Church, 930 W. 23rd Pl. Tulsa, OK.

We'll be planning for upcoming events, especially for White Cane Awareness Day, which is fast approaching on October 15th. We need your input, so please try to attend. 

Allison Fallin

Tulsa Council of the Blind provides education and support for those who are blind or have low vision, as well as for their family and friends.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Distance Education Classes for the Blind and their Families

Hadley School for the Blind Logo
Hadley School for the Blind offers more than 100 free and tuition-based distance education classes for the blind and their families. The Hadley School for the Blind has been around since 1920 with its mission to promote independent living through lifelong, distance education programs for individuals who are blind or visually impaired, their families and blindness service providers. 

Students, age 14 and older, who are blind or meet vision eligibility requirements may enroll in Adult Continuing Education courses, where they can learn basic communication and technology skills, business skills, independent living skills, parenting skills, as well as enroll in academic classes such as English, math, science and social studies. In addition, students can earn a high school diploma using the Hadley School curriculum.

Family members of a blind or visually impaired person can enroll in the Family Education Program, where they can learn to read and write braille, foster the development of a child with a visual impairment, and/or support your member's adjustment to vision loss.

Those who currently work with the visually impaired as a professional, volunteer or service provider can also enroll in tuition-based professional studies courses that will help you work more effectively with your clients or students. Courses are offered in Braille, audio format, digital talking books, pdf format, print and online. 

Check out the website for more information.

I, personally, took a class on how to support my husband through his vision loss. I found it easy to fit into my schedule and very helpful. I highly recommend this resource.

Blog post by: Cindy Downes

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Blindspot - Is this the future of the White Cane?

Selena Chew, a student at the National University of Singapore, developed a futuristic white cane called BlindSpot. The cane has sonar and phone capabilities that make it perfect for the visually impaired. The device can detect objects that would normally be out of the reach of a traditional white cane - objects such as overhead tree limbs. In addition, it can be used to locate friends and family members via the built-in smart phone.

         Video describing the BlindSpot white cane.

Read more about this fascinating device on Smart Planet. It's not available yet in stores, but keep watching!  Ms. Chew is working on marketing BlindSpot in European countries and the United States.

Ways to Assist a Person With Vision Loss

When my husband began losing his vision, I spent some time trying to figure out how best to help him. I had been told that I needed to encourage him to be independent; but, at the same time, I was to be available to help whenever he needed. How was I supposed to know the difference? It was a confusing time for me, too!

Young girl assisting
a blind man.
Fortunately, I was able to learn the difference when I attended a session for spouses at the VA vision center in Tucson, Arizona. If you ever have a chance to attend something like this, be sure to go. It was very worthwhile and helpful. For those of you who don't have that opportunity, check out some of the website links below. There is lot of helpful information on the Internet.
Contact Tulsa Council of the Blind for more information. 

Post Author: Cindy Downes

Monday, September 3, 2012

Directions for Me

Photo of Directions for Me Logo

Horizons for the Blind is proud to announce Directions For Me; a website featuring preparation directions, nutrition facts, warnings, ingredients and other important information in an easy to use and accessible format.

The database contains over 300,000 products in three categories - Food, Health & Beauty, and Other. Each of these categories has sub-listings that organize products like aisles in a grocery store.

You can also go to the search bar and type in the name of the product you are looking for.

Directions For Me was designed to be completely accessible with screen readers and magnifiers as well as web-enabled note takers and cell phones. Unlike manufacturer's websites, we present this information in a simple and consistent format and eliminate features that hinder accessibility.

With Directions for Me, there's no more guessing on what you are putting into your body, no more gambling on cooking times and best of all, no more waiting for sighted assistance!

Open a web browser and go to:

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Story - Marion McFadden

Marion McFadden

I opened the ledger, preparing to post transactions from my client’s check register. Instead of seeing dollars and cents, a white, fuzzy circle appeared on the paper. I blinked and rubbed my eye, but the problem remained. This was not a ‘bolt of lightning’ event. I lived with congenital glaucoma and sight in one eye for the first thirty years of my life, and during that time had surgeries for a detached retina and to reduce eye pressure. Now, after being self-employed for a year, I realized my occupation as a bookkeeper and tax accountant had reached its end.
So … what now? My income had ceased, but the expenses – house payment, groceries, car payment, shoes and clothes for three small, growing children – continued. In the following months, my wife Linda and I experienced frustration, sometimes almost panic.
But there were silver linings in the dark cloud that loomed over our family. Linda’s job provided some income. I was approved for social security disability. We received wonderful spiritual support, and some financial aid, from our church family. A member of our church worked for Oklahoma Rehabilitation Services, and led me through the testing and evaluation processes. He believed I could learn computer programming!
However, in 1967, there were no colleges or universities in Tulsa, where I lived, willing to accept a visually impaired programming student. The rehab counselor told me a special class for blind or visually impaired persons would begin that fall. But it was located in Oklahoma City, and I needed basic skills in Braille. He gave me contact information about the class, but did not feel I could qualify for the fall semester. My spirits plummeted when he said I should wait until next year to enroll! 

I struggled with Braille that summer, and went to Oklahoma City for an interview. An opening for one student remained, and I was allowed to take the entry exam, which I passed. Surprised, my counselor completed the steps for Visual Services to sponsor me. 
In September, 1967, I joined eleven men and women to learn the intricacies of coding a computer program. Our instructor was excellent, and the students were friendly and helpful. I soon realized most were far ahead of me in mobility and proficiency in Braille. I was a ‘group of one.’  Hour by hour, day by day, week by week, we learned about hexadecimal and binary numbering systems, bits, bytes, and how data is processed inside a computer. Then we wrote programs to produce usable output!
Although I now had goals and direction, attending classes a hundred miles from home for nine months was difficult. Linda needed me at home to help raise our children, and we missed each other tremendously. I commuted by bus most weekends from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, and back. In retrospect, we should have sold or leased our house, and moved to Oklahoma City.
During the spring semester, I was given the opportunity to code a test program for a company in Tulsa. Based on the program and its output, I was granted an interview. I told the Human Resources Manager and the Data Processing supervisor that I liked the new skill I had learned, and that my background in accounting should enhance my effectiveness as their employee. When I mentioned I used my portable electric typewriter to code programs, one manager asked how I could type without seeing the keyboard. I told him I used the ‘touch system,’ as sighted people do. The other manager asked if I felt confident I could find the men’s rest room, not the women’s. Although I did not feel good about the interview, I was hired.
At first, the dozen or so programmers I worked with considered me an oddity. Whoever heard of a blind programmer? I understood my role as a trainee, but was determined to succeed. I carried a huge responsibility, not just for myself, but also for those who graduated from the programming class with me. If I failed…. As my skills improved, I was accepted as a fellow programmer.
A year later, several employees, including myself, were laid off. Over a period of months, I sent over 100 resumes, and traveled to Kansas City and Dallas for interviews. When I went to an appointment in Tulsa, in response to a newspaper ad, the interviewer refused to take my application when he or she discovered I was legally blind. Oh, that black cloud again!
Finally, another silver lining appeared. A friend told me she heard a manufacturing plant in Broken Arrow had a computer. She did not know if they needed a programmer. I went there, took a psychological test, and was called several days later for a second interview. I was offered a job. The manager told me they planned to put an ad in the classifieds the next day. To my astonishment, he asked how I knew they were looking for a programmer. Coincidence? Fate? I believe it was more than that.
The working atmosphere at Braden was much more satisfying than at my first programming job. Instead of coding single programs, I was responsible for designing and implementing a series of programs. My first assignment was a new payroll system. I interviewed several clients, coded and tested programs, and followed up with changes and corrections. My accounting background certainly helped with that.
In 1998 I retired as a systems analyst from Braden Winch Company in Broken Arrow, after working there for twenty-nine years. During that time, computers and related technology evolved dramatically. The mainframe components changed from vacuum tubes to transistors to printed circuits. Instead of programs being typed and keypunched into cards, I created code at a CRT keyboard. Before there was an American Disabilities Act, the managers provided me with the latest hardware and software, which magnified and produced audible output of the CRT screen content.
After retiring, I took advantage of an offer by Tulsa Community College for a tuition waiver to senior citizens. I audited two classes in creative writing and have written a novel and several poems. I enjoy reading, traveling, listening to music, and interacting with my family and church friends. Overall, life has been good to me and Linda, my wife for more than 55 years.

Friday, August 10, 2012

LWV Voter's Guide

Sheila Swearingen
League of Women Voters
Everyone enjoyed hearing Sheila Swearingen, the Administrative Director of the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Tulsa, as she answered questions on how to access information on the candidates in the upcoming elections.

You can access the LWV Election Guide for 2012 on the LWV Website. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Coming Soon!

Building A Strong Foundation For Tomorrow!

Oklahoma Council of the Blind proudly presents the 2012 OCB Annual State Convention!

September 28-30, 2012

Wyndham Gardens Hotel
10918 E. 41st Street
918-627-5000 or 800-996-3426

What better way to build a strong foundation than to have the opportunity to come together at this time and be informed by presenters covering topics such as:

* Leadership!
* Technology!
* Mind, Body and Soul!
* Self Defense
and so much more!
Keys-U-See large print keyboard.

Registration per person is $80 which covers:
* Five meals to keep your strength up for hammering!
* Informative speakers to build empowerment!
a host of fun activities to strengthen the foundation!
* Wall to wall exhibitors to bridge the gap!

Hotel rates are only $72 plus tax per night! And you can have up to four per room!
Call 918-627-5000 or 800-996-3426 and make your reservations!

Come join us for an important time of "Building a Strong Foundation for Tomorrow!"

For more information, contact Convention Chair, Jesse Martinez at 918-232-7164 or email him at okie3268@yahoo.com

2012 DRS Expo Invitation

DRS Expo 2012 Logo

DRS is hosting the fourth annual Education and Outreach EXPO Oct 4th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and Oct 5th 9:00 am – 3:00 pm at the Oklahoma School for the Blind in Muskogee, OK.  The EXPO is open to the public including all DRS employees, potential employees, DRS consumers, educational and medical providers, community partners, advocates, parents and students.

Services offered by the various DRS Divisions and their partners will be highlighted, providing the public with information on issues faced within the disability community.   Educational workshops relating to disability awareness will be offered.  Training credits and CEU’s will be available.

The EXPO celebrates more than 80 years of providing services to individuals with disabilities.  Theme for the 2012 DRS EXPO is “Heads, Hearts, and Hands”.

DRS staff and families are encouraged to attend one day.  Please register for the DRS EXPO 2012 by clicking on the following link:   

Registration Deadline is September 20th.

Expo updates including sponsor/exhibitor and participant registration links will be placed on www.okdrs.org homepage by August 13th.

Andrea Hall, Director of Innovations
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

Office:  405-951-3580