November 2011

With all the different types of software and downloads from the Internet, you may have experienced your computer crashing or slowing. If you use talking software you may notice compatibility issues after you downloaded a particular program.

Here is a quick easy fix. Every PC offers a restore of your system. If you are on Windows 7, you can just hit the start key and type restore and down arrow to restore your computer to an earlier time. When the dialog box comes up, look back at all the dates and make note of when your computer worked well and restore it to that date. When my talking software stops working well, I can see a particular type of update was made on my computer and now I know which update knocked my talking software out…. I then go and hide that update in my update folder so it will never occur again. You can do the exact same thing in XP but you will have to go into the control panel to do so., pub-3447701155434117, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0

You can also set restore points. Last week, one of my students went on vacation and her laptop had been having major issues, so I took it for the week to overhaul. After I fixed it, I set a restore point with an original name, so as problems occur down the road, I can talk them through how to easily restore her computer back to the date last week. It is like getting a brand new computer right out of the box, but just loaded with all the blind software and ready to use.

Restore is a wonderful feature However: If you set a restore point on your computer on Oct 1 and you loaded another program on Nov 1, found issues on Nov 5 and restored back to Oct 1, any program you loaded after that Oct 1 date will be gone. Your files are still there, it just takes away programs—but the new added program could be what was giving you problems, so this is decision time, if you do a restore. It is something major you are doing to your machine.

Always backup your files before doing something like this. Backup, just means, make another copy somewhere else, like on a thumb drive. You should be doing this anyway because technology crashes and you always want another copy of your files somewhere else.

There are a lot of great powerful features on computers, just learn how to take control of them and use the power to your advantage, instead of them taking control of you.

Here is a video of a 4 year old and a 2nd grader racing each other on their Braille Computerized Technology. Learning is fast and fun when you have the right tools and friendships to learn together.

Watch video at: Blind Technology Helps Students

Lessons to help

Braille Note Lessons to take you through the Basics to more advanced skills

Braille Note Made Easy

Braille Note-APEX BT-Braille keyboard layout-Getting to know the Braille Note

Jaws-connecting the Braille Note to the computer for a Braille Display

I want my students to be able to quickly know the date and time at any point during the day. I do not want them to have to ask those around them to keep track of their schedule. One of the first JAWS commands I teach is the INSERT+F12, which will tell them the time, then INSERT+F12 twice quickly tells them the date.

My students have become so astute with what time it is that they don't start checking the time until about 10 minutes before our class ends. I love hearing that time announcement as they are working along. They have taken charge of their schedules and know how quickly to finish work and get it emailed off before the end of the period. With them taking their own time and schedules on, they have become more competitive with completing work at the same time as their peers.

Being aware is the first place to start with making change in how we do things.

Have you ever sat with a child and thought, "OH, I WISH I had a lesson on this to teach!" Immediate download of Microsoft Lessons, and other blind tools is now available at your fingertips. In addition, there are hundreds of articles on how to teach lessons or what types of lessons to teach for a particular situation. There are also articles on the above products, daily living skills, how to teach math, a foreign language and so much more. All on one site

As a teacher, you can download lessons the day before, the morning of or as you sit with a student who just came to you with a question on, "How do you do a PowerPoint Lessons?" or any other type of lesson. You go to PowerPoint lessons on and download it digitally within a couple minutes (all depending on the speed at which you use a computer). Lesson planning is now made incredibly easy and simple. You also discover that if a lesson in not on the site, a request on the contact page for a particular lesson will be added to the site within a week for your use.

Parents who are homeschooling also have the same ability. With the ever changing technology and questions on how to use talking software, adapted braille computers, the Internet and the software that goes with it, the answers are in articles and in easy lesson download format with just a click away. Articles to read on how to go about teaching your blind child and which lessons to download with the article are just a click away.

For the Blind user, who wants to learn skills themselves, everything above applies too and a click away is just an INSERT+F7 using JAWS. Everything on the site is link based, using INSERT+F7 you can access lessons and articles. Edit boxes can be accessed using the letter e, and hitting ENTER will turn on the ability to write. If you hit a combo box, ENTER activates that too. TAB always moves you easily through the whole site, every link, heading, and form box. If you want to read the articles on the site, H will jump you to the headings and down arrow enables you to read it. If you bring up your links, just go to the next article with 2, 3, etc, as their are hundreds of articles to peruse.

Education, Instruction and Lessons are now in quick text download format and close to as instantaneous as you can work a computer. Help is always at the contact page if you need any help.

To get a job, you need more expertise in the area you are applying for than anyone else does. You need to be dressed appropriately for the job you are applying for, also. You are going to need the confidence to show others, you can do this job and great skills will give you this confidence!

Once you get the job, you need to keep up with your skills, especially technology. Make yourself invaluable. Technology is crucial. If you are a K-12 educator or parent, then make sure your children are getting technology training at the youngest grade possibly….preschool is ideal, after that time, just begin …IMMEDIATELY!

If blind, this training is even more crucial. You need to start young to learn what it is like to keep up with your peers and compete with the rest of your class, so when you get to college and the workforce, you have gained the experience you need to prove yourself to the potential employer.

Without technology skills, it is very hard to compete in the world. If you are blind and lack technology skills, it will be harder. Computers and talking software will give you the advantage of getting a job. Once you get the job, continue to gain training to keep up with your skills.

There are many places to gain education: Your local college, online classes and a myriad of information right on the Internet.

If you are blind, be upfront about the issue of your blindness. It is on everyone's mind whether you want to admit it or not. Tell them to ask you any question they have, let them know how you would tackle certain job aspects. If you are not comfortable with your blindness, they will not be either and that will hinder potential employment.

If you want a job and you want to keep your job, then get those technology skills to compete. Word skills enable you to write any type of document to any specification. Excel will help you auto-calculate math and get you organized for all projects and so much more. PowerPoint will enable you to walk into an interview and demonstrate a rundown of you skills on a PP and in the process show the potential employer your skills. PowerPoint will also enable you to give any type of presentation to impress any group of people. Internet skills will enable you to do the research on any project the boss may give you. If you are blind, learning those talking software skills combined with the above will enable you to go anywhere and compete with anyone.

One thing is for sure….if you want to keep your computer running well you MUST have antivirus protection on your computer. There are many types available and many do not cost anything, but do compare the ones that cost to the ones that do not as you may need to pay for that extra protection.

Here is a list of antivirus programs that you can look over to see what fits you best. Antivirus List

For good free Antivirus software, see the following
Microsoft Security Essentials

Many people do not know that there are differences between WORD commands and JAWS talking software commands. Microsoft Word has thousands of it own built in keystroke commands that have nothing to do with JAWS. If you just want to become a faster computer user with keystrokes and never use JAWS, you can.

This wonderful keystroke feature in WORD, Excel, PowerPoint or any Microsoft product, also gives blind students the ability to go to any computer with memorized steps and no talking software, open WORD (or another program) and do what ever they need, according to their memory of steps, because the keystrokes are already built into the program. It allows sighted people to move just as quickly instead of taking their mouse and trying to figure out where a certain option is in a particular menu.

However, JAWS and WORD together are incredibly powerful. When you are in WORD doing those commands and you want to have JAWS read both characters and words, you hit INSERT+2 and cycle through all the options. If you want JAWS to read the whole page to you, you hit CTRL+HOME and then hit INSERT+DOWN ARROW and JAWS reads the whole page.

These lessons all based on keystrokes, can be found here at

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