Last updated September 22, 2022
Welcome to my web site. The primary purpose of this site is to offer some help to other blind or visually impaired people. There are a few things of interest to others, I hope.
Since my web site has become a little busy with lots of topics, I decided to explain the layout of my pages Instead of creating a table of contents, which is a lot of work and makes the page even busier with multiple links.
I use Heading Level 1, for the major sections.
Heading level 2 for sub sections.
And on the Useful Apps page in particular, Heading level 3 for the individual apps.
So, to quickly scan through my pages, use your screen reader hotkeys to either jump from any heading to any heading with the letter h, or use the numbers 1, 2, or 3 to jump to more specific items.
I recommend, quickly going through the page at level 1, any section that sounds interesting to you, begin reading at that point. I hope that helps to make my web site easier, and quicker, for you to navigate.
In case you are wondering why I have 42 in the name of my web site. It isn't that there were 41 turner.coms ahead of me. My favorite number is 42, thanks to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I have a small sound sample from the BBC Radio version of the book: answer.mp3
"The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of flying.
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss."
--Douglas Adams, from Life, The Universe and Everything, p.59
"May the force be with you" - The Gadget Guy."
In November of 2009, I purchased my first iPod Touch 64GB. I liked the idea of having a built-in screen reader, PDA functionality, as well as a music and audio book player. I am now using the iPhone SE 2nd Generation, also called the SE 2020, daily and loving it!
For those who are not familiar with the iDevices, the first accessible iPod Touch was the Third Generation, which came out in late 2009. They were the 32 GB and 64GB models. They have Voice Over built-in, which is the Apple Screen Reader. Most of the apps (short for applications) that come from Apple are quite accessible with Voice Over. The first iPhone with VoiceOver came out earlier that year in June, 2009, but at that time, my attitude was, who needs a cell phone?...I figured out that I did in 2014 with the iPhone 5S.
Here are Word and a couple Excel files of the VoiceOver gestures and keyboard/braille commands, mostly from the iOS user guide. I added the common braille commands for VoiceOver on the Mac. And I've included the new Voice Control commands list compiled from the early beta and some commands have changed no doubt. Also a short tutorial from Harry Bell that is very helpful.
I used to teach the Apple iDevices at my job as a Rehabilitation Instructor for the Blind. I believe the Apple devices are the best accessible device going right now and I have compiled a list of apps that have been tested with VoiceOver. Below is a link to the list which I hope to keep updated fairly regularly.
I moved several items to a new page, Demos and Walk-throughs as I hope to do more of them. I moved the Airpods Max and Voice Dream Walk-through plus a new audio demo of WALTR Pro with Jaws to that page. It is here:Demos and Walk-throughs
I have a detailed explanation of how the Visual Cortex is involved in discriminating sounds and touch plus excerpts and the transcript from a PBS show.
Bookshare is my favorite source for books in all categories. They often get books the same day the hard copy/eBook is available to sighted readers. Also, they now have a verynice selection available to people who live outside the United States.
In the United States, it is $50 per year or free to students or people receiving training from a Rehabilitation Agency.
here is the main web site link: Bookshare main page
Here is the International web site: International Bookshare
I've combined information for purchasing the various products from Orbit Research, downloading firmware updates, and the zoom meetings into a separate page which you can access at this link: Orbit Research Information
The American council of the Blind maintains the most up-to-date list of programs with Audio Description (also known as Video Description.) Here are some direct links to some popular lists.Disney Plus titles with description Apple TV Plus shows with Audio Description Broadcast TV with Audio Description Movies in the theater or on DVD with audio Description Netflix shows with audio Description UK TV show Schedules Amazon prime audio described Movies and TV shows iTunes audio described Movies and TV shows
Jeff Rutkowski is someone who has provided a lot of movies and TV shows audio files for live streaming or downloading. Here is the first paragraph from his web site followed by the link.
Welcome to my described movies page. To listen to any of these movies, simply click on or press enter on the link. If you wish to download them, access your applications menu and select the "save link as" or "Save target as" option. Please note: I try to make sure that all links listed on this page work, and few to no duplicated movies exist but, I may have missed a few here and there. If you find duplicate links or links that lead to a non-working movie, feel free to contact me at jrutkowski7 at gmail Jeff Rutkowski's Described Movie's page
Audio Vault is another site that is also linked from Jeff Rutkowski's page, but here is the direct link. Note, you have to sign up for a free account to download described audio files from the Audio Vault, much like the way the Blind Mice Movie Vault works, only easier.
Once you have established a free account you can go directly to the Movie Vault where they have MP3 files of movie soundtracks with audio description.
To create an account, go to their main page: Blind Mice Mega Mall Then, you can use the next link to go directly to the movie vault. Note, you will have to login but then you will be on the movie vault page.
Blind Mice Movie Vault
Most TV's now have the ability to turn on the Audio Description channel, often it is the Secondary Audio Programing feature under the audio controls. If your TV does not have that, check with your cable company about how to access their content with audio description.
If you are an xFinity customer you can call their accessibility help desk: 855-270-0379
If you have an iPhone/iPad, go to Settings, General, Accessibility. In the section titled Media, you can enable Subtitles and Captioning. Only enable that if you want VoiceOver reading the captions, or you have a braille display and want to read them on your display.
The next item is Audio Descriptions, it defaults to off, double tap to turn it on using VoiceOver. This way, things you stream with audio description should play the audio description automatically.
Some services will require you to select description from the audio controls within their app.
A resource I do not recommend, Future Aids, or the Braille superstore! If you want to know why, follow this link for the detailed saga of my experience buying a chess set.Braille "Stuperstore"
I have put together some reference lists of Braille symbols. One is a list of most of the common UEB punctuation marks in more or less alphabetical order. Another is a list of the UEB contractions in alphabetical order by meaning. There is also a list of computer braille symbols and a document a former coworker put together of the changes from EBAE (English Braille American Edition), to UEB.
If you right click on the link for the particular file you want, and choose save as, you can save the file to use on your braille device.
I was given a chart of braille music symbols in a BRF file by Chela Robles to add to my web site. Since I do not know braille music, I'm offering them here to help anyone who wants a reference chart. Chela tells me the chart is updated to the 2015 edition of braille music from BANA.
I noticed the .brf version did not read well on a 20 cell display. I changed the extension to .brl and that reads fine on a 20 cell display. Both the .brf and .brl copies are below.BrailleMusicSymbolsChart.brf, recommended for 40 cell displays BrailleMusicSymbolsChart.brl, recommended for 20 cell displays
Here are a few things that are about braille but also entertaining.All About That Braille from the NFB BELL Program 2015, Louisiana Center for the Blind
Sung to the tune of "Breaking Up is Hard to Do"
Lyrics by Judy Matsuoka, Oct, 2013, Hadley School for the Blind
ble is leaving me.
My heart is in misery.
When com goes then I'll be blue,
But UEB ain't hard to do.
And for of the with were so tight.
To into by snuggled through the night.
Think of the books we've been through,
But UEB ain't hard to do.
They say that changing codes ain't hard to do.
My fingers know that this can be true.
And my brain says farewell old friends:
o'clock, dd, ally plus ation
I say to all thanks and goodbye.
I'm really not going to cry.
Oh well baby, let's start anew,
Cuz UEB ain't hard to do.
NFB's, Paths to Literacy, has an acapella version performed by Mark Brady, which I've added here for ease of access:UEB_Ain't_Hard_to_Do_MBrady.mp3
Hadley has been adding a lot to their instructional videos. The link below will take you to their videos page where you will find videos on topics like:
I discovered that Perkins has a list of brailler repair centers around the world on their web site. Below is the key that explains what the levels of repair are and the link to the page followed by the list of countries if you are wanting to check before going to the web site.
Perkins Certified: Individual or company completed an in-person workshops on how to repair braillers, administrated by Perkins
Products Serviced: List of products an individual or company can service
Repair Level: Description of the four levels of repairs an individual or company can complete
175 N. Beacon Street
Watertown, MA 02472
Toll-free Phone: 855-206-8353
Email braillerservice at perkins.org
Perkins Certified: Yes
Products Serviced: Perkins Braillers & SMART Braillers Repair Range: Level 4—Warranty Repairs: Perform all repairs, including warranty repairs; Can diagnose all problems associated with the brailler and can perform all major and minor repairs, Perkins Certified to service braillers still under warranty.
Countries included are:
Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada , Croatia, France, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States & Puerto Rico , Zambia
A man named Michael Fier, has written a book to help someone from the very beginning with no experience with Apple devices, through to a pretty complete understanding of the iOS system and the use of VoiceOver. He has made it available in many formats on his Blog, but here is a link to an ePub version of his book that will work in Voice Dream Reader or any ePub reader, followed by a link to his blog.
PersonalPower-The-iOSEdition.epub Michael Fier's blog where you can get the file in Word, ePub, PDF, or RTF formats
The National Braille Press has a page with most, if not all of their technology books in one place. Anything by anna Dresner or Judith Dixon are worth considering in the Apple world. They also have books about Windows etc.NBP Technology Books
Here are two links to the M4R file of the new iPhone X Ringtone. First, is an MP3 version so you can play it easily, then, a direct link to the M4R version, if you want to download it, you will need to right click and select Save Target As.
In honor of the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series, I clipped out part of the Steve Goodman song, "Go Cubs Go" and saved it as a Ringtone for iOS. Right click (or use the context menu key or shift+f10) and select save target as, or save link as, on the zip file to save it on your computer, then unzip it and add it to iTunes: 01GOCUBSGORingTone.zip
On the VIPhone Users List, mark Taylor posted a link to get the tones provided by The Android Soul.com site which contains the link to the original .ogg files used on the Android phones. I have converted those original files to m4r format for use on the Apple devices. But, I want to give credit to the Android Soul web site for providing these files.
The m4r versions are in the zip file "s6tones.zip" available here:
s6tones.zip The original ogg files are available here: The Android Soul download
Some of my music interests are on my music page: Music stuff
Available Monday to Friday from 6 AM to 10 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 7 AM to 6 PM Pacific Time.
We offer American Sign Language (ASL) support by videophone from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 5 PM Pacific Time.
Windows, Office, and Xbox accessibility support now available via Twitter Direct Message.
Send us your question via direct message at: @MSFTEnable
A free app that connects blind and low-vision people with volunteers for visual assistance through a live video call.Get the app for Android Get the app for iOS
Chat with an expert 24/7. Receive answers to your questions about disability support all week long, day or night. Go to the answer desk web site to find the chat link:Microsoft Disability Answer Desk web site
Biblos 5 is a software package that allows you to export into a variety of formats including lots of different braille codes/languages.
You can read more about it and download it at:
If you have questions, you can write the author at: Giuseppe at digrande.it
Pontes Media Downloader allows you to download and convert YouTube videos and likely other videos as well. Simply copy the URL of a video to the clipboard, run Pontes Media Downloader and wait for the tone.
When you hear the tone, Pontes has recognized the video and now, press the escape key, then you can tab through your options.
Once you have alt+tabbed back to Pontes, tab and the first thing is probably "Best source format available," which you should leave alone.
Tab again and you will have the combo box of download formats. The default is "download original video only, no conversion." You can download into a wide variety of formats. You can either arrow up and down through the options, or use shortcuts to jump to the format of your choice. Here are a few of the shortcuts:
* 4 - Target: MP4 video format
* V - Target: AVI video format
* 3 - Target: MP3 audio format
* M - Target: M4A audio format
* G - Target: OGG audio format
* W - Target: WAV audio format
* F - Target: FLAC audio format
* A - Target: AAC audio format
Tab again and you should be on the Download Link, hit enter and wait. If it is a playlist, you will hear tones as each file is downloaded and converted. If it is one file, you will hear a tone when it is finished downloading.
During a download, you can check the view log to check the progress/status of the download.
Also, if a download unexpectedly stops, looking at the log will alert you to that because the download message won't change over time. There is often no other way to know if a download has unexpectedly stopped or if conversion has unexpectedly not occurred and the program is just sitting there after the download.
You can move to the bottom line of the log with the "end" key. Keep pressing end to hear updated information.
When finished looking at the log, close the window with alt f4. That will return you to the Pontes Downloader main window.
The view log command is: Control G - Show selected download log.
The default file location is in your default Documents folder which you can get to from within Pontes Media Downloader by pressing Control+e.
You can get a complete list of the shortcuts as a txt file by pressing control+K while in the Pontes Media Downloader program, and tab a few times, and you should hear:
Keyboard shortcuts Control D
Search for action...
Export as text file Button
The shortcut.txt file will be in the Pontes default download folder.
From their web site as of April 27'th, 2022
Version 3.5.1 includes:
* Sounds for program alerts
* Increased default simultaneous downloads to 5
* Various bug fixes and other small changes
Here is the keyboard shortcut file in Word docx format with headings.Pontes Media Downloader Keyboard Shortcuts.docx Pontes Media Downloader web site, https://www.pontes.ro/en/scripts/ Direct link to installation file called Pmd_install_v3.exe
Doug Lee offers quite a few free scripts for Jaws on his page.Doug Lee's Scripts
Brian Hartgen has many paid and a few free scripts for Jaws. His resources are well worth investigating.Hartgen Consultancy WEB SITE
The Jaws Scripts page has some free scriptsJaws Scripts Page
The Snowman offers several paid scripts mostly for audio content/editing on his page.The Snowman's Scripts page
Here is a link to get the Jaws help section in a Word document with Tables. You can bring up the context menu and save it as a document, or just open it and save it:Jaws Voice Assistant.docx
I put the Jaws Laptop Keystrokes into an Excel file as I personally find this a more accessible format than in the Jaws help topic.
Here is the Excel file:
IN the Jaws settings folder, there is a txt document of thousands of symbols with their hex values. If you have the hex value, you can insert the symbol in your Word document. Enter the information after the plus sign in a word document, then imediately press alt+x and then spacebar and the symbol will be inserted.
For example, if the Hex value is U+1FEA you could enter 1F7EA, press alt+x and spacebar and have a Purple Square in your document. It also works if you include the U+, at least in my Word 2016 from Microsoft 365.
Thanks to Brian Lee for pointing me to that file.
I believe in making things as user friendly as possible and did not find the txt file very user friendly. It has the hex value followed by the symbol name. I put all this into an Excel spreadsheet with the symbol name in column A and the Hex value in columb b. This way, you can search for the symbol name, and then tab or right arrow to column b to get your hex value. Here is that XLSX file.SymbolDescriptions.xlsx
Here is a link to a Word .docx file of the Narrator Keyboard Commands, Touch Gestures and Scan Mode.
Below I have put the information from the word document above into an Excel spreadsheet with several sections. I am putting two paragraphs I left out of the excel copy here for reference.
There is a table of contents with hyperlinks to the main sheet. I'm new at this, so it should open on "Sheet 2" which is the table of contents and is above sheet 1. If you just want to manually jump to sheet 1, use the Control+PageDown command. To get back to the Table of Contents, use control+PageUp.
You can choose what modifier key you want to use in Narrator commands. Both the Caps lock and Insert keys serve as your Narrator key by default. You can use either of these keys in any command that uses the Narrator key. The Narrator key is referred to as simply "Narrator" in commands. You can change your Narrator key in Narrator settings.
Narrator Scan mode basics
To turn scan mode on and off, press Narrator + Spacebar.
When scan mode is turned on, use the Up arrow key and Down arrow key to navigate apps and webpages. Press Enter or Spacebar to activate an item that you want to use, such as a button in an app, a link in a webpage, or a text box.
Scan mode turns on automatically when you use Microsoft Edge to browse the web. It also turns on automatically when you open any Windows app where you turned it on before. If you turn scan mode off for an app, it will remain off for that app until you turn it on again. Scan mode automatically turns off in edit fields so you can enter text. Press up or down arrow again to leave the edit field and resume scan mode. Scan mode commands
When scan mode is turned on, use the keys in the Scan Mode section to navigate apps and webpages.
Note: If you are hearing silent stops in scan mode, this may be because Narrator is stopping at a punctuation mark. You can increase your punctuation verbosity by pressing Narrator + Alt + Plus sign (+) or Minus sign (-).
Here is a word document formatted with headings of David Moore's excellent tutorial on using the Chrome Browser with Jaws.
Here is an excel spreadsheet that I created from the Microsoft Edge shortcuts provided by Mike B. on the Jaws users list.MicrosoftEdgeKeyboardShortcuts.xlsx >
Here is a Word Document that uses Tables and Headings for the extensive list of keyboard shortcuts from the Microsoft support page.
I put a list of commands that was shared on the Jaws users list into a word file in a table and in an Excel spreadsheet. Both are in this zip file: Win10CalculatorKeyboardCommands.zip
Wordweb is a dictionary that you can have running in the background to make it easy to look up definitions, synonyms, etc., from just about anywhere on your computer. It is very screen reader friendly. Check it out at: www.wordweb.info
It is also available for iOS or Android, search the App Store or Google Play store for Wordweb.
My wife and I have received complements on our cooking. Here are some tips and recipes I'd like to share.Cooking tips and recipes
Here is a new page I'm BUILDING with my first, original, cocktail. I hope to add moreMixologyCorner.html
Below will be a link to some of my favorite games, but before that, in memory of Jim Kitchen, I converted many of the commercials he used in his games to ringtone files for anyone who might want them. They are mostly from the Baseball game, my personal favorite.
Jim Kitchens Ads.zip
Accessible games Here you can read about some of my favorite accessible games.
Quotations Here you can read some of my favorite quotations.
Tom Lehrer recorded a hit novelty song in the 50-s and again in the 60's which he called, "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park." Someone programmed the DeckTalk speech synthesizer to sing it.
Before you listen to DeckTalk, if you have not heard the original, here is a YouTube link to a performance by tom Lehrer from 1998.
Tom Lehrer live The DeckTalk MP3 file is about 1 minute and 50 seconds. Here it is:
I received a variation on the old Abbott and Costello "who's on first" routine a few years ago. I decided to produce it with different speech synthesizers using Window-Eyes and GoldWave. The link below will play the mp3 file. Enjoy.
Hu's in China.mp3
Here is the text version in an MS-Word document: Hu's_in_China.doc
Affordably priced Accessible Talking MP3 Players, Evo 10 & Evo 12 daisy Talking Book Readers, Victor Reader Stream, Blindshell classic 2 Phone, Phone Service, Bluetooth Transmitters/Receivers, and a variety of Accessories.
Free shipping in the US and no tax unless in florida.
Email: Laz at TalkingMP3Players.com
I recently learned that the OPTACON has an active users' list, places to repair them, and a movement to get a new OPTACON type machine created. If you are interested, here is some information.
2194C GALVESTON AVENUE
SAN JOSE, CA 95122-3617
Email Oehm electronics
To subscribe to the OPTACON users' list, send an e-mail with the word subscribe in the subject to:
optacon-l-request at freelists.org
by replacing the word "at" with the @ (at) sign.
A few years ago, I discovered a Ministry that is providing a vast array of Bible Translations, study materials and reading materials for free to print disabled people. It is called Optasia Ministry. Here is a partial quote from his web site:
Optasia Ministry web site
We aim to provide resources that will help equip Christians with disabilities to serve in Christ's church.
We provide biblical study tools and other ministry resources in a digital form that can be read by screen reading computer software, giving persons with visual disabilities access to materials that are not usable for them in print form. A list of available material is listed on our web site or is available by contacting us.
Because we are operating under the Chafee Amendment of the US copyright law we are able to provide copyrighted material free to those who qualify for our services. Those wishing to receive our material will be asked to affirm that they have a visual disability or other disability that necessitates the use of the alternative formatted documents we provide.