Mac OS X Lion even more Accessible

July 22, 2011

This post is from Gail Johnson:

From the OS X Lion Apple website:

Built-in voices

VoiceOver in OS X Lion includes built-in voices that speak 22 languages: Arabic, English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish (Spain), Swedish, Turkish, Cantonese, Mandarin (China), and Mandarin (Taiwan). In addition, other languages are available for downloads including Greek, Hindi, Indonesian, Romanian, Slovak, and Thai, as well as alternative voices with different dialects such as English (UK), English (Australia), English (South Africa), and Spanish (Mexico).

High-quality voices

In addition to the built-in voices in Lion, you can download higher-quality versions of the languages from VoiceOver Utility. Choose Customize from the Voice pop-up menu in the Speech pane.

Set up your Mac in your language

Lion supports 22 different languages in VoiceOver, so you can set up your Mac in almost any language.

Picture-in-picture zoom

The screen zoom feature in Lion offers a picture-in-picture view, allowing you to see the zoomed area in a separate window while keeping the rest of the screen at its native size. Choose to have the window follow the cursor, or keep the window in one place to show only areas you navigate.

International braille tables

Lion includes built-in support for more than 80 new braille tables serving a wide range of languages.

Braille verbosity settings

You can now specify the default verbosity level (amount of information you want to receive) for use with a refreshable braille display. And you can set verbosity levels for specific controls, such as applications, checkboxes, and Dock items, as well as headings, images, and links.

High-resolution cursor

In Lion, the cursor is crisp and sharp at larger sizes.

Improved drag and drop

VoiceOver in Lion offers an improved drag-and-drop experience for users who are blind or have difficulty seeing. Simply mark the item you want to drag, then mark the destination — OS X moves it into place.

VoiceOver activities

With VoiceOver activities, you can create groups of preferences for specific uses. For example, you can create an activity to use a certain voice and faster speaking rate when you’re shopping online catalogs. Create a second activity to use a different voice and slower speaking rate when you’re reading online newspapers. You can switch activities manually or have VoiceOver switch automatically based on the applications you use.

Single-letter quick navigation in web pages

Assign VoiceOver commands to single keys to make it even easier to browse the web using VoiceOver.

Search in VoiceOver Utility

VoiceOver Utility includes a search field to help you find the feature you’re looking for.

For those with the Mac Air and the Mac Mini

For AllMac owners





Ruby vs Pebble Digital Magnifiers

July 22, 2011

This post is from Lauren Tappan.

 Quintex of Asheville/ Frank & Edna Beard demonstrated a new digital magnifier called the Ruby.  I thought the refresh was better than the Pebble.  It is light weight and had several other user friendly features I liked.  Check out the Ruby from Freedom Scientific.
     Also, I will be giving you a consumer up-date on the Clear Reader Plus as soon as I have had a chance to play with it.
Ruby video:
Pebble videos:

Treating Retinitis Pigmentosa with Traditional Chinese Medicine

July 18, 2011

Here is a possible treatment. Approach with skepticism. The word “holistic” used with medicine is like the word “organic” applied to food: maybe helpful, maybe meaningless.

Wellspring Clinic for Holistic Medicine

Dr. Weidong Yu
916 West King Edward Avenue
Vancouver BC V5Z 2E2

Toll Free Tel. 1-877-737-7876 (U.S. & Canada)
Tel. 604-737-7876
Fax 604-738-2897

An Austrian research study has repeatedly demonstrated that acupuncture treatment can lead to a marked increase of blood flow velocity in the supratrochlear artery in a RP patient. Although the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine remains to be established in further, better designed, clinical trials, it is safe to say that TCM is a valuable treatment option to be explored or tried by RP patients and medical researchers.

At Wellspring Clinic in Vancouver, Canada, we have developed a treatment protocol for RP patients—-Wellspring Vision Improvement Protocol (WVIP), which mainly consists of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine and antioxidants supplementation.



Three Macular Degeneration Tests

July 18, 2011
If someone in your family has experienced severe vision loss from macular degeneration, you may be wondering about your chances of developing the disease. Genetic testing can help determine your risk of developing macular degeneration.The following three tests can help determine your risk of developing advanced macular degeneration:

  • Macula Risk: This genetic test measures your inheritable risk factors and combines them with your history of smoking, giving you a measurement of your potential risk for developing advanced macular degeneration.
  • AMD Risk Assessment Test: This test looks at three different genes that are associated with a higher risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration.
  • RetnaGene AMD: RetnaGene tests for a severe form and complication of advanced AMD known as choroidal neovascular AMD.
For more details:

Diet affects eye disease progression

July 11, 2011

A study of U.S. twins finds diet can significantly influence the course of the eye disease macular degeneration, researchers say;  the study involved identical twin pairs in which one twin had early age-related macular degeneration and the other had late stage age-related macular degeneration.

By examining identical twins who share the same genes but whose disease was at different stages, the researchers say they were able to identify environmental and behavioral factors that may contribute to severity of the disease.

The study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, found that twins whose macular degeneration was at the early stages tended to consume more vitamin D from dietary sources such as fish or milk than their twin.

Seddon says vitamin D may reduce the risk of macular degeneration because of its anti-inflammatory properties or it may block the formation of new blood vessels that can grow under the macula, leaking blood and causing vision loss during the more severe stages of the disease.  Eating a diet high in vitamin D, as well as the nutrients betaine and methionine, might help reduce the risk of macular degeneration.

In addition, the study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, found the twin who was the heavier smoker tended to have the more severe case of macular degeneration.

Read more:

Oxford Researchers Developing Smartphone-like Glasses

July 11, 2011

The glasses utilize technology such as video cameras, face recognition, tracking software, depth sensors and position detectors

Oxford University researchers have started developing a set of bionic glasses that contain technology commonly found in game consoles and smartphones.

Dr. Stephen Hicks, study leader from the Department of Clinical Neurology at Oxford University, and a team of Oxford researchers, are creating glasses packed with technology that could help those with age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
The glasses utilize technology such as video cameras, face recognition, tracking software, depth sensors and position detectors. All of this technology is now available at a reasonable cost, and Oxford researchers see this as an opportunity to combine such helpful mechanisms with a normal pair of glasses.

“We want to be able to enhance vision in those who’ve lost it or who have little left or almost none,” said Hicks. “The glasses should allow people to be more independent — finding their own directions and signposts, and spotting warning signal.”

At the corners of the glasses are cameras that capture what the person is looking at. While the person is looking in a certain direction with the glasses on, tiny lights hidden in the transparent lenses offer extra information about the person’s surroundings such as objects, obstacles and people. These lights are driven by a smartphone-like computer that stays in the person’s pocket, relaying information about the surroundings based on the video images from the cameras.

The lights display different colors to the wearer in order to let them know what is around them. For instance, there are different colors for people and objects when they come into view of the cameras. Also, the brightness could tell the wearer how close something is.

In addition, optical character recognition could be used in these glasses, which would allow the computer to read a newspaper headline through the cameras and read the headline back to the wearer through a pair of earphones.

Hicks added that it will take people some time to get used to this type of technology, but believes it will be worth it. Once produced, he estimates that the glasses will cost around £500, but mentions that training a guide dog costs around £25-30,000.

The glasses are only a concept for now, but scientists are in the midst of building prototypes. This technology is being displayed on large screens with video images at this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition. In addition, ski goggles with a small display as well as an early prototype with a transparent LED array will be on display.


NFB of NC Convention

July 9, 2011

The following annoucement is from Lauren Tappan.

 The next National Federation for the Blind State Convention will be in Winston-Salem, NC Sept 9-11.  If you want to know what is happening  with State and National Legislation that will effect low-vision and blind you might look up the NFB web-site,  or
For information about the convention, call Gary Ray at (828) 505-0299 or Easter McCall at (336) 293-8307.