Welcome to The Blind Perspective

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June 2019
Volume 5 Issue 6

Table of Contents

Greetings from the Editor
Sponsor of the Month
Movers & Shakers
Reader's Submissions
Exercise, does a body good
Have I Got A Story For You
The Braille Highway
Kaleidoscope of Krafts
Spencerís Spotlight
Computer Tech101
A Time to Plant
The Alternating Duo: Seeing the World Differently
Dirty Work
The Beauty Parlor
Cooking Concoctions
Riddle & Brain Buster


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Greetings from the Editor

By Karen Santiago

Welcome readers to the June edition of the Blind Perspective!

I would first like to wish all the dads a very Happy Fatherís Day!

Secondly, remember that for the next two months you can send in an article with some type of blind/ low vision related topic to be published. This month there are two stories to share with you, in the Readerís Submissions segment. If you have a story you would like to share, just send it to, Karen@TheBlindPerspective.com

Finally, last month I gave a big thank you shout out to all the authors for their time, dedication, and wonderful articles month after month. This month I would like to thank Teddy, our audio technician for making the newsletter available in an audio format.

In addition, I want to also thank Nat, our webmaster, and distributor of the newsletter via email and Newsline. It takes a lot of work behind the scenes to produce the newsletter in these different formats, and to maintain our website. So, thank you Teddy and Nat!

Remember you can also choose to listen to our audio version of the newsletter, link below:
The Blind Perspective Audio

Please read on to be informed and entertained!

At A Glance: Talking Toaster, Mediate, Inspiration & Dessert, PNF, Music Fiction, Braillables, Menko, Wake Up, Browsers, Wonderful World, Walking Tour, Carpet Cleaners, Face Care, Flank Steak, Riddle, & Brain Buster!

Sponsor of the Month

Blind Mice is proud to introduce the Black & Decker Talking Toaster Oven!

This modified Black and Decker, counter top, feature rich talking toaster oven which allows persons with low or no vision to cook foods independently. Select cook mode and set the temperature and cook time! The Talking Black & Decker Toaster Oven has a 12Ē x12Ē x 8.5Ē cooking chamber and 1200 Watts of cooking power. It is simple to operate and its high quality male voice is clear and easy to understand.

4 cook modes: Bake, Broil, Toast, Warm
Bake mode temperature range 200-500F
Broil mode temperature range 300-500F
Toast mode temperature range 300-500F
Warm mode temperature range 125-500F
Convection and regular bake mode
12Ē x 12Ē x 8.5Ē chamber (9 slice)
Clear and intelligible male voice
8 volume level settings
Timed cooking only: 5min to 4 hours
Integrated talking cooking timer
Embossed keys make them easy to locate by touch
Simple to operate
One button press informs user of current settings and remaining cook or kitchen timer times
All stainless steel construction with glass door
10 Amp current draw at 120VAC (1200W)
Dimensions: 18.25 W x 14 D x 11.5 H
Weight 18lbs
Warranty 1-year parts and labor

Order yours Now & gain more Independence in Your Kitchen! Retail Price 399 dollars and 99 cents. Blind Mice Mart has two easy ways for you to purchase this amazing Talking Toaster Oven! Buy with a one time payment and SAVE 15% or Use our convenient Payment Plan; 79 dollars and 99 cents Down & 4 monthly payments of 80 dollars.

For more information and to see the Black & Decker Talking Toaster Oven please visit Blind Mice Mega Mall: www.BlindMiceMegaMall.com
or call The Mice at: 713-893-7277 (Monday-Friday 9 am - 4 pm)

Movers & Shakers

By Karen Santiago

I recently had a Q&A session with Emre Sarbak, a co-founder of Mediate. Read on to learn about this company and their app, SuperSense, which sounds to be very beneficial to the blind/ visually impaired community.

What is Mediate?
We are a Boston-based, MIT-spinoff AI startup that is developing computer vision applications for the visually impaired and the blind.
We believe computer vision, which is a field of AI, has immense potential for the community of the visually impaired and the blind. This technology offers an unprecedented level of understanding of visual information. In addition, widespread adoption of smartphones made this technology ubiquitous and very accessible.
We believe that the new AI technologies will make the next decade one of the most significant time of empowerment for this community. Technically, AI on a smartphone is now able to do most of what a sighted assistant can do for a visually impaired or blind person. We want to turn this possibility into reality.
On this direction, we have released the early version of our technology as a mobile app called Supersense.

Who is a part of Mediate?
Mediate has two co-founders, Myself and Cagri Hakan Zaman. I come from a social entrepreneurship background. Before this startup I was in St. Louis and helped build a nonprofit that got praised by President Obama. Cagri is a researcher at MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The underlying technology of Mediate comes from Cagri's innovative research to get AI to understand space like humans do.

Our company is supported by National Science Foundation, US Department of Veteran Affairs and many community organizations in the US and around the world. Locally, Perkins School for the Blind and Carrol Center for the Blind both supported us in our grant applications.
In addition to organizations, we have a couple of user groups that give us constant feedback on our ideas and on our product.

Does Mediate get financial support?
Many groups have trusted in our vision and our plans, and provided generous support to turn our plans into reality. National Science Foundation, Veteran Affairs, MIT DesignX program, MIT Sandbox program, and a few angel investors have provided financial support so far.

What is the Supersense app all about?
At Mediate, we are developing a new AI technology for this community. Supersense is our first product that uses the early results of our R&D work led by Cagri Hakan Zaman.
Supersense is an app that helps people with understanding their environments. It helps people find objects that they are looking for, such as doors, seats, stairs, trashcans and many other objects.
Other apps either help with the information that is right in front of people, apps such as KNFB reader or Seeing AI, or with GPS-based navigation, such as Google Maps. Supersense helps with orientation and mobility needs in physical environments and empowers people in new ways.

What devices is it available on?
Right now, it is available on Android for free. We will be releasing the full iOS version very soon.

How can our iOS users get it?
People who are interested in accessing and testing an early version of our app can email: beta@mediate.tech
and we will invite them to our beta testing process.

What has the feedback been like?
The feedback has been phenomenal. We have users in more than 80 countries and many of them use our app regularly.
One user said that he used our app to locate his dumpster and take his trash out independently for the first time. Another user said that she regularly locates the stairs in front of her office using out application.

Are you working on any other accessible apps/ projects?
In addition to our current project, we are also talking to the Museum of Science about how to make the museum and similar public institutions more accessible.

Can you provide us with contact information?
Our website address is www.mediate.tech

We didn't have time to build a social media presence yet. Anyone who is interested in our work can sign up for our email list on our website or can reach me at: emre@mediate.tech

Is there anything else you would like to add?
It is great to be featured in this newsletter. Thanks a lot for inviting us.
It feels like we are in a very exciting field that can help many people. We are always looking for people from this community who would like to participate and support our product development process.

Reader's Submissions


Enjoy reading the following submissions from readers Abbie and Carol.

Meeting My Inspiration Again

by Abbie Johnson Taylor

One sunny afternoon in May of 2018, I was resting in my recliner, listening to the drone of lawnmowers and whine of weedwhackers as my landscapers did their weekly business in my yard. Suddenly, I heard a crash. This time, it wasn't my garage door being smashed by a truck belonging to a patron of the day care center next door. Instead, it was a lawnmower colliding with a car in my neighbor's driveway on the other side. I know this only because one of the landscapers, not knowing me, came to my door, thinking it was my driveway and my car.

According to a policeman who showed up a couple of hours later, the car sustained a lot of damage. I gave him the landscaping company's phone number, and he gave me his card, saying he remembered asking me years ago if drivers were stopping to let me cross streets with my white cane. I couldn't believe it.

In the fall of 2002, I was single and living in an apartment complex subsidized for seniors and people with disabilities. A registered music therapist, I was working in a nursing home. On a day off, I was walking home after my water exercise class at the YMCA. I'd just jaywalked in front of my building and stopped to talk to a neighbor in a wheelchair when she told me there was a policeman behind me. I turned around and there he was, on a bicycle.

Where had he come from? Had he seen me jaywalk? Was I about to get a ticket, my first ever brush with the law?

To my surprise and relief, he asked me if I was having difficulty crossing streets because drivers weren't stopping. I told him that as long as I used four-way and other intersections where drivers were required by law to stop, I rarely had a problem. I also explained that I couldn't see well enough to get the license plates from offending vehicles. He said he would bring up the issue at roll call and rode away.

Now, I was again flustered, even though I'd done nothing wrong this time. All I could tell him was that our first meeting had inspired my first novel. I should have given him my card, but I didn't. He probably thought I was nuts and wished he'd given me that ticket for jaywalking years ago. In any case, we parted amicably enough.

After I posted about this incident on Facebook, someone asked if the story would continue. That remains to be seen. I may never see that officer again, but I'll always have the memory of how our first meeting inspired We Shall Overcome.

A Spicy Kind of Dessert

by Carol Farnsworth

When I was first married, I found that my new husband loved pie. I didnít have much experience with pie making but I figured I could follow a recipe. I got out the old Betty Crocker cook book and looked up desserts.

I found a recipe for apple pie. I carefully measured the ingredients for the pie crust and the pie filling. I mixed, rolled and fitted the pie crust into the baking pan. I mixed the sliced apples with sugar, flour, butter and spices. I poured the whole mix into the crust and put it into the oven to bake.

After the timer went off, I removed a beautiful looking pie. I didnít want to ruin the look of the pie so I didnít try it.

When my husband came home, he was greeted with the smells and the appearance of a perfect pie. He got a glass of milk and cut a big slice of the apple pie. He took a large bite with his fork and started to chew. His eyes grew large and he was barely able to swallow the pie. After a large drink of milk, he asked what spice I had put in the apples. I replied cinnamon.

He asked to see the bottle. I rummaged in the cabinet and pulled out the container. My husband read the label and started to laugh.

I wanted to know what was so funny. After wiping his eyes, he told me that I had used red cayenne pepper instead. To make matters worse, I had doubled the cinnamon amount thinking it would be Spicy.

My husband tried to finished the piece but the heat of the spice was too much. The pie was thrown out in the compost. To be honest, no critter attempted to eat the pie. We finally had to bury the pie.

Ever since then I have put markers on my spices, and have my husband check what I am putting in my desserts. I have made errors over the years, but I have not made such a Spicy pie again.

Thank you Abbie and Carol for sharing your stories.
If you would like to share a tip, technique, story, or anything blind related, send it to my email address located at the beginning of this article. Please send it to me no later than June 15, and I will publish it in the July edition.

Exercise, does a body good

By Dan Kiely

Welcome to Juneís issue of Exercise Does A Body Good,
In this issue I focus on P N F, which stands for, Proprioceptive Neuromscular Facilitation. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a more advanced form of flexibility training, which involves both the stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted. It is also excellent for increasing flexibility and improving muscular strength.

These exercises will target the group of muscles associated with the shoulders. Once you have mastered strengthening your shoulder in one single plane (flexion/extension, abduction/adduction), you can challenge your shoulder with PNF exercises. This is when you challenge your muscles in different ways and different planes.

The first motion is called a D2 pattern.

Cross your right arm over your body and turn your hand like you are grabbing an imaginary sword out of your pocket. Pull your arm up and across your body while turning and opening your hand until it is up in the air. Your hand and fingers should be fully open, and on the right side of your body.
Now, reverse that pattern going back down.

Next, you will perform the D1 pattern.

Make a fist with your right hand. Put your hand across your chest, almost like you are saying the Pledge of Allegiance with your fist closed.
Now bring your arm down and back across your body. While twisting, open your fist behind you. Then reverse the pattern back.

Note: I recommend doing PNf exercises without weights until you get the hang of the movements. Once you mastered the shoulder exercises, either use a light weighted dumbbell or use a light resistant band.

Repetitions: Do three sets with 10 to 25 reps.
Muscles Worked: These exercises work your deltoid muscles, rotator cuff muscles, bicep, and triceps muscles.
Variations: You can perform these 2 exercises either standing up or on a stability ball.

Health tip:

9 health benefits of taking vitamin B 12
Improve red blood cell formation and may prevent anemia
May prevent birth defects
Maintain bone health and may prevent osteoporosis
May prevent macular degeneration
May improve mood and symptoms of depression
May improve brain memory
May improve energy levels
May improve heart health
Improve hair, skin and nails

That is it for this monthís edition, and remember, Exercise Does A Body Good!

Have I Got A Story For You

By Carla Jo Bratton

Hello book friends,
I would like to thank all of you who have written and sent me good wishes for my recovery. It really means a lot. The support of friends and family really helps fight off the blues.
My article this month is brief, only 1 book. Iíll be back up to speed soon!

Daisy Jones and the Six
written by Taylor Jenkins Reid
reading time: 9 hours and 5 minutes
not on CELA or RNIB yet

A gripping novel about the whirlwind rise of an iconic 1970s rock group and their beautiful lead singer, revealing the mystery behind their infamous breakup. Daisy is a girl coming of age in LA in the late '60s, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but itís the rock íní roll she loves most. By the time sheís 20, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things. Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out sheís pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

My comments: I bought my copy from Audible which has a cast of narrators and was excellent. But the book is worth reading no matter how you can get it. There is so much speculation as to which iconic band Reid is writing about. Remember, this is fiction. Reid really captures the time period. Those days are gone now.

Let me know what youíre reading please, I love hearing from all of you.
until next time, Happy reading,
Carla jo

The Braille Highway

By Nat Armeni

Happy June to everyone,
For our readers in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the start of summer! For those of you experiencing the start of winter, keep warm!
I had a very busy month of May with a trip to the states, celebrating my motherís birthday, and Motherís Day! Before leaving to visit with my relatives in Washington State, I had made a few braillables to give to my young nieces and nephews.
I gave my youngest nephew, 4 years old, a sailboat braillable. He figured out that the picture was a sailboat right away! My two nieces each received a braillable of small hearts framing a large square piece of pink paper. They both told me secretly that they were going to draw a picture in the middle and give it to their mom as a Motherís Day card, and they did! Finally, for my 8-year-old nephew, I gave him a braillable of a truck. He said, Ah, cool!Ē So, as you can see these braillable pictures arenít just for blind/ low vision people to enjoy.
Below find the directions to make these fairly easy braillables, and share them with others.

1. Space once, dots 4-5-6, CH (dots 1 & 6).
2. Space once, dots 4-5-6, space once, CH (dots 1 & 6).
3. Space once, dots 4-5-6, space twice, CH (dots 1 & 6).
4. Write ED (dots 1, 2, 4, & 6), x four times, n.
This sailboat is a simple figure. It can be made as large as you want by using dots 4-5-6 for the mast, increasing the number of spaces by one for each line added. Make the boat length correspond to the width of the sail.

1. Write s, e, i, WH (dots 1, 5, & 6).
2. Write GH (dots 1, 2, & 6), space twice, A R (dots 3, 4, & 5).
3. Space once, e, i.
This is a very simple heart to make. That is why I decided to frame the paper with a bunch of these. Try making these small hearts, you can be very creative!

1. Write p, 5 cís, TH (dots 1, 4, 5, & 6).
2. Write l, space 5 times, dots 4-5-6.
3. Write l, 5 spaces, dots 4-5-6, i, c twice, WH (dots 1, 5, & 6).
4. Write l, space 5 times, dots 4-5-6, space 4 times, c, TH (dots 1, 4, 5, & 6), o.
5. Write v, IN (dots 3 & 5), c, EN (dots 2 & 6), 2 hyphens (dots 3 & 6), number sign, (dots 3, 4, 5, & 6), 2 hyphens (dots 3 & 6), IN (dots 3 & 5), c, EN (dots 2 & 6), number sign (dots 3, 4, 5, & 6).
6. Space once, e, hyphen (dots 3 & 6), i, space 5 times, e, hyphen (dots 3 & 6), i.
This braillable is a bit more complex. Take your time, especially with the last two lines. This is a side view of a truck with a box-like trailer, a cab, a back and front wheel, and a light on the front.

The idea can be expanded to make a school bus, using a series of contractions for (a full cell) as windows.

Thank you for reading my article! Why complicate life with gadgets when you can complement it with braille. Braille users do it with feelings! Remember to stay on the dotted line of life. Stay safe and chat with you again in July!

Kaleidoscope of Krafts

By Lindy van der Merwe

For this month's Kaleidoscope of Crafts, we will once again be doing some origami, but with an added challenge.

Most people start off doing paper folding with one sheet of rectangular or square paper, which will let one fold thousands of different shapes. Though this is a good start for many, some move on to what is known as modular origami. In this form of origami, more than one similar unit is folded and then these units are joined together, more often than not, without using any kind of adhesive, but by tucking or sliding in flaps and corners in order to join the units.

Before you decide to skip to the next article, the little envelope we will be making for this month only uses 2 pieces of paper and it is one of the easiest modular origami folds to do. If using two colors, it will look even more impressive, not to mention that you can hide something inside to give as a gift.

You should be able to fold your very own menko envelope with no problem. The menko is one of the oldest traditional modular origami folds and The sheer simplicity of the model could be one of the reasons why it is so popular. Itís finished size is a third of the paper you are starting with. It is closed securely with a flap, so no glue is necessary for ordinary use. It is smooth on one side and has a motif resembling a pinwheel on the other. It can be opened by folding back the flaps, one at a time, revealing the two center squares, which has been placed on top of each other.

The word Menko has been derived from a type of card game played in Japan, where players throw down cards, trying to flip the opponentís cards over. Your menko may be folded from any kind of paper. Printer or copy paper is great to practice with. For a gift, consider buying some colorful origami paper or you could even print your own paper from the internet.

You will need 2 squares of similar sized paper. The easiest is to make a square from some printer or copy paper so you can practice your folds before folding with the more expensive origami or printed papers.

If you need to do this, here is how to make a square from a rectangular piece of paper. This method comes in very handy for many other origami shapes that also start from square sheets.
Step 1: Folding
Lay your rectangular piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface with the long sides to the left and right and the short sides at the top and bottom. Fold the top right corner of the paper down and to the left until you can feel that the two layers of paper lay on top of each other on the lefthand side. Follow the two layers of paper upwards to make sure they line up as closely as possible until you find the narrow, top point of the paper. While holding the two layers in this position, make a sharp crease, running your finger from the top left corner down and to the right.
Now, on the righthand side, your paper will slope up sharply from bottom right to the top left corner. Notice that at the bottom of your folded paper, there is a rectangular piece, which has not been folded. It is this part of the paper that you will remove to create a true square.

Step 2: Weakening the paper
Fold the single-layered bottom part of your paper upwards as far as it will go. The folded paper will overlap the bottom part of your folded triangle. Create a sharp horizontal fold and then, lifting or turning your piece of paper, fold the bottom part of the paper back the other way. Do this a few more times to weaken the paper in both directions. You can also run your nail along the crease or use a damp finger to weaken your paper even further.

Step 3: Removing the extra paper
There are many ways you can use to remove the bottom part of your sheet, including taring, cutting with scissors, rotary cutters or craft knives, etc. Feel free to use whatever method you find easiest, or ask for sighted assistance until you are comfortable performing this step.

I will describe the taring method I most often use for those who would like to try this. After you have weakened your paper along the horizontal crease line, place the paper flat on your folding surface again. It works best if you now place the paper with the weakened fold in a vertical position. Place your thumbs and forefingers on either side of the crease, and move your hands apart in a swift, but controlled, motion. Don't worry if the edge of your paper is not perfect. You will get better with this with practice.

If you prefer, you could consider asking for assistance to cut enough practice squares or have your paper cut at a copy or printing shop.

Now, for creating our menko envelope.
If using two-sided origami paper, lay your paper with the patterned or colored side down before starting to fold.

Step 1: Place a square piece of paper down on a hard, flat surface with its edges to the left and right, top and bottom.

Step 2: Divide and fold your square into thirds. The easiest method I have found to do this is to pick up your paper and gently fold the sides over to their opposite edges, into an S or a Z fold. Adjust your folds on both sides before making small creases right at the edges of the paper to mark where you will fold. Don't worry if this is difficult at first. It will become easier with practice.
Unfold all the way again. Using the small marks, you have made, fold the top edge of the square down a third of the way and then over once more, like you would a letter going into an envelope. You will now have a long, closed rectangle.

Step 3: Fold the right bottom corner up so the bottom tip meets the top of the paper, making a diagonal crease. Crease well and leave folded.
Fold the left top corner down to meet the bottom of the paper, making a diagonal crease. Crease well and leave folded. Youíll now have what will look like a square in the middle of the paper, flanked on each side by triangles (which will be facing in opposite directions.

PHASE 2: Repeat steps 1 to 3 1 more time so you have 2 similarly shaped units to work with.

Step 4: Make sure both your pieces have the triangular folds facing up. If your shapes have a smooth surface, flip them over so you can feel the triangular folds on each side.

Step 5: Lay down the first piece so it is oriented vertically with the triangles at the top and bottom.
Lay the second piece over the first, but oriented in a horizontal position, so the center squares are on top of each other and the triangles at the left and right. Notice that you now have one center square with triangular flaps sticking out on all 4 sides.

Step 6: Starting from the top, fold down the first flap so it folds across the center square. It should be fairly easy because of the folds you have made previously.

Step 7: Repeat this action with the right and bottom triangular flaps as well.

Step 8: Lastly, take the triangle on the left and tuck it into the pocket on the right. Don't simply fold it over to the right, though. You will have to find the crease of this pocket and lift it up slightly in order to tuck in the last point securely.
You have just completed your very own traditional origami menko.

Happy crafting until next time!


Spencer's Spotlight

By Cheryl Spencer

Remember last month I promised to tell you my impressions of the Techken Bluetooth sunglasses that I ordered from Amazon. I opted for the 16 dollars and 99 cents pair. When I first opened the package, I thought they were pretty funky looking. Very futuristic. I have a very small head so most sunglasses are too big for me. I solved the problem of them slipping off my head by wrapping an elastic band around the ends of the arms and my hair covered it well, so all is good.

The pairing process was pretty easy and I was able to hear my iPhone well. When I made a phone call, the audio was clear. All and all, in my opinion, it was a good buy. Those that have opted to get the Bose sunglasses are very happy with their choice as well.

Now, for this monthís spotlight item. Have you ever had trouble getting out of bed in the morning, not wanting to let go of the pillow and that nice dream you were having? Me too! I have actually slept so well that the alarms sounded, and I slept through all 4 alarms I had set. I hate it when the day starts with me running as soon as my feet hit the floor. I found a little gadget that might just help. it is called the TCLPulse Bluetooth enabled vibration and Sound Alarm.

The pulse unit pairs with your iPhone and apparently there is an ap that is voiceover friendly where you can setup all kinds of alarms and reminders. As many as 10 per day. The ap can control the strength of the vibration and this can be kind of cool if your partner is a light sleeper. Or, you can use a combination of sound and vibration to manage your sleep interruption.

This is also a solution to those of us that do not hear as well as others. The pulse device fits inside your pillowcase so when the alarm goes off, it vibrates and or makes sounds to wake you up.

Below are the product details, taken from their website:
Bluetooth 4.0
Each I O S device can monitor up to 5 TCL pulse vibrations
Program up to 10 alarms for any day of the week
LED indicator shows status with colors and patterns
Adjustable vibration/sound with snooze
Countdown timer
Wake up by vibrations, sound, or both
Color black
Weight is 0.5 lbs.

The price is 39 dollars and 95 cents which sounds like a good deal, considering what it does. Amplicon USA manufactures this device and it sold by A. T. Guys. Their web address is: www.AtGguys.com

Computer Tech101

By Jim Morgan

Once again, our beloved Benevolent Dictator, otherwise known as Madam Editor, has suggested a topic. As quite a few of you already know, she had a little issue with respect to Google Chrome versus Internet Explorer recently so she thought it might be a good idea to talk about them. Now Iím not going to get into the debate over which browser is best, since itís a very subjective thing. I thought weíd discuss them so that, if you are uncertain about which one you might like, or are having problems with the one you have, you might have some ideas on what to do about it; or, at least, have an alternative to calling the computer and/or browser a number of filthy names that I canít print. Iím just going to stick with the ďBig 3Ē, Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox. I realize there are others, but I have neither the space here nor the inclination to go into all of them and Iím not dealing with Safari since itís an Apple Operating System browser. Bottom line, if yoursí works for you, great. If not, or you want some more info, read on.

Iím going to start with Internet Explorer since itís the one I use most. The first thing you need to know is that, somewhat soon, IE, as itís called, is going away. Microsoft has already created and is rolling out the new browser. Itís called Edge. I havenít used it myself as yet, but itís only a matter of time. My understanding is that itís somewhat similar to IE since itís the ďchildĒ of IE, but Iím told there will be a number of differences. A friend of mine who works with Operating Systems told me a little while back that Edge is a direct response to Google Chrome and is designed to specifically compete against it. That said, Microsoft is still going to support IE version 11, the last and current version, into the foreseeable future. One of IEís strengths is that itís still very popular and a number of people use it. So, if you have a problem, you have a better chance of getting some help than for, say, Firefox. I personally use it because Iím used to it and understand some of its idiosyncrasies. The limitation here is that a number of Websites are shying away from IE and donít always support it very well, if at all. For example, you can only download audio-only movies and such from the Blind Mice Mart with Google Chrome or Firefox; it wonít accept IE at all. Iíve been told that a number of Sites are doing this as well. My suspicion is that itís because Microsoft is ďendingĒ IE and the Sites donít want to waste resources on a product on the way out. The programming and scripting languages are slightly different between the different browsers. This is, of course, because of copyright laws.

Next, is the one that is taking over more and more; itís Google Chrome. Chrome, as itís usually known, is a very good alternative to IE. The interface is slightly different but it has some real strong points. For one thing, it will easily import all of your ďstuffĒ from another browser so you donít have to retype anything. Also, you can choose which Search Engine you use; IE makes you use Bing. Also, for those of us that use Zoomtext Fusion, there is support for that in what they call Smart Inversion. What this does is to ďuninvertĒ the color/brightness on pictures but leave the rest alone. Granted its no big deal to turn the inversion on and off, but it shows that Google is thinking about us. A very small difference I found is that Chrome uses ďBookmarkĒ instead of ďFavoriteĒ like IE does. Again, this is a very small thing but it helps to illustrate that there are differences between the programs. For the most part, I really canít find anything bad about it and it is gaining more and more use as time goes on. In an informal poll I conducted here locally with family and friends, most used Chrome with only a couple of hold-outs, like myself, still using IE. I will say, however, that Chrome does use a little bit more memory than IE, mainly due to add in programs such as the Google Security Host, but these days, itís really not that big a deal, and it doesnít seem to work very well on older Operating Systems, such as Windows XP. Bottom line, I feel that it will eventually take over from Microsoft. Of course, there are some issues, such as the heading problem that Madam Editor ran into recently, but I think that, in time, theyíll be ironed out. I suspect that the header issue was a combination of settings within Chrome and some slight language differences between the two Browsers, but itís hard for me to say at this point. Google is very committed to Chrome and is putting a lot of talent into upgrading and ďperfectingĒ it as they go.

The last one is Firefox. Unfortunately, itís kind of the BetaMax, for those of us that remember them, of Internet Browsers. When it first hit, it was a wonderful alternative to IE and worked very well. I have a couple of friends that swear by it but, sadly, itís nowhere near the use levels of IE and Chrome. I personally donít use it and donít especially like it. Some of that, well, most of it, to be fair, is my personal opinion on how it works for me. One of its good features is that it can run on older Operating Systems, such as XP, and allows you to get into Websites that wonít support the older version of IE. For a while there, I was using it to get into my Bank online since they would no longer support the IE version I had and I couldnít use the new IE versions that were available. I donít care for its download process. Like IEís Search Engine, it only goes to a folder that you set up ahead of time and you canít seem to be able to easily change it ďon the flyĒ like the other Browsers. Itís a little bit more like Chrome in its verbiage. Although, I suppose that itís the other way around since I think Firefox came first. Anyway, Mozilla, I think thatís spelled right, is still upgrading and working on Firefox, so, like the others, it should be with us for some time to come.

As you can see from the above, there really arenít vast differences between Browsers and most of the differences are either subtle or behind the scenes where we donít see them. The good news is that you can have as many Browsers installed as you want and the PC wonít care. I have both IE and Chrome installed with no ill effects to either. While I really donít use Chrome, itís nice to know that if IE decides to puke on the carpet, I know thatís disgusting, but, trust me, I could have come up with worse, I know I have a good alternative in the wings. As my own experience and the ďpollĒ I took tells me, itís more of a personal preference barring the Websites you want/need to use Not accepting a particular Browser.

As always, should you have any questions on this topic or any other issue or, please please please, want to send me some topic ideas, donít hesitate to send me a message. My address is located at the top of this article. And, also as always, Iíll try to respond, one way or the other, as soon as possible. In the meantime, Happy Computing!

A Time to Plant

By Sue Brasel

What an amazing world we live in!

Leaves, stems and flowers come in many varieties of sizes, shapes and colors. We can use our sense of smell near plants and/or soil. Fresh fruits and vegetables taste interestingly different from one another. Our tactile sense lets us discover plants, though we need to be careful near those with thorns or spines!

Plants, in their natural settings, are part of a biome. This is a community of plants and animals in a particular climate. An example is the biome of a forest. The upper leaves get direct sunshine and rain. Small animals and birds are comfortable here. The middle level might include shrubs and shade loving plants. Light is filtered by shade provided from the upper leaves. Larger animals live here. The low level is below ground, where sunshine does not penetrate to plant roots. This is where burrowing animals and insects live. Each level has its own habitat, where the needs of plants and animals are met.

Photosynthesis is the process of plants becoming green. Derived from Greek words, the meaning is that light is used to put things together. Chlorophyll cells in green plants use energy from the sun to change carbon and water into carbohydrates. It is a multi-stage process.

Plants are part of the food chain that connects plants, insects and animals. A simple version is that plants grow, providing energy for animals or people that eat them. In turn, that animal energy provides a host site for insects such as ones that sting. When animals and insects are no longer living, their bodies, along with plant matter become compost. Then, the process is repeated.

Causes and effects exist in our environment. A forest fire or a flood could destroy life in an area. Human choices, such as cutting down a forest or pouring chemicals into our water supply will alter a biome. We live in a society where we leave biological footprints that could change the way future generations think of us.

We can help our personal environment by having plants to help with pollution issues. On a larger scale, our gardens can produce food for family and friends. A community atmosphere can be enhanced with a scent garden, where plants can excite our sense of smell.

What if you donít have a green thumb? A cute idea is to paint a rock green, then stick it in a colorful pot filled with soil. It is a ďplantĒ for people who donít remember to water or take care of normal growing plants!

Plants can provide interest year-round with growth, changing colors, and different scents. Gardens can be as small as a container with a plant, or as large as there is space. Small seeds can result in large plants; cuttings of plants can root up, and become like the parent plant. Although our sense of a garden changes depending on the type of plants and the best environment for that species, we can have a part in our naturally changing world.

Now, it is ďthymeĒ for me to check on my ever-changing garden!

the Alternating Duo: Seeing the World Differently

By Lois Strachan

ďTwo roads diverged in a wood, and Ió I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.Ē - the Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost.

That may be a strange way to start an article about an experience I had in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) on my recent trip to India. Yet, it sums up my experience of the Calcutta Capsule Alleys and Street Food Walking Tour so perfectly that it felt right to use the quote.

Thereís a couple of things you ought to know before I dive into the story. First, that visitors to Kolkata are warned not to drink tap water or eat street food. Second, that if youíre looking for a guided tour of the most famous tourist sites in Kolkata in an air-conditioned vehicle, then this isnít for you. But, if youíre willing to take the road less travelled, youíll love this experience, just as I did.

By now youíre probably wondering what on earth Iím talking about.

The Alley and Street Food Walking Tour is one of several walking tours offered by Soham, of the Calcutta Capsule. His aim is to show tourists the authentic Kolkata that he loves so much. And, since he grew up in the area, he knows all the secret gems of destinations and shows you a side of Kolkata that tourists generally donít get to experience.

The Alleys and Street Food Tour takes you on a 3-hour journey through historic narrow alleys in the heart of Kolkata where Soham shares stories of life in Kolkata, as well as tales of history, myth and fables. Along the way, you get to sample some truly delicious Bengali food from street food vendors and tiny eateries, experience Kolkata from the rooftops, and walk through some amazing local markets selling a rich diversity of produce.

The walking tour took me on a rich journey of the senses. From listening intently to the changes in sound as we weaved our way through a series of twisting narrow alleys with buildings soaring high above our heads; smelling the intoxicating scent of incense from the local religious shrines and spices from street food vendors. Listening to the chaotic yet friendly hubbub of a city of 10 million people Ė cars hooting, people haggling prices in the many informal stalls on the streets and markets that we passed. Feeling my way cautiously up three flights of uneven spiral stairs to emerge onto a rooftop that felt like we were on top of the world peering down on the busy streets below. Walking past local businesses ranging from a multi-generational family goldsmith to a sweet shop that had been in operation for more than 250 years. From start to finish, the tour was a wonderful riot of sensations that appealed to my every sense.

And then there was the food Ė starting with a small cup of chai tea loaded with sugar, through various types of curries and traditional local dishes, to a variety of Bengali sweets, for which the area is famous. I should clarify that Bengali sweets arenít like candy Ė theyíre more like small cakes, donuts, or biscuits made from loads and loads of sugar of one kind or another. Even the ones that donít taste sweet are deceptively so, so be warned! And, despite eating only small portions, you wonít leave hungry. Even if youíre a fussy vegetarian like me.

Youíre probably wondering why Iím speaking so rapturously about street food considering the warning at the start of the article. Werenít we worried about eating street food? Not at all. You see, weíd done our researchĖ the tour received such high ratings and glowing reviews on both Trip Advisor and Airbnb that we figured the food must be okay. And we didnít see a single review mentioning Ö shall we say negative consequences from eating it.

From what Iíve said, obviously Iíd recommend the walking tour for anyone who happens to be visiting Kolkata. But, seeing as I doubt too many of you will be doing so in the near future, I hope giving you a tiny taste of my incredible experience will encourage you to look beyond the popular tourist experiences and take the road less traveled on your next vacation.
Till then, happy travels!

Dirty Work

By Manny Morales

Hi All,
Hope you are trying out some of my cleaning recipes. I would like to hear your thoughts, good or bad. And, if you have any tried and true recipes of your own, why not share them with me.
This month I am sharing two carpet recipes; a freshener and stain removers.

Homemade Carpet Freshener:
A carpet freshener does not clean a carpet, it helps to neutralize the odors trapped within the carpetís fibers.
This is so easy and inexpensive, there is no need to purchase any commercially made brands that generally have added chemicals.? And, yes, this is pet safe too!

What you need:
Mason jar with lid Glass bowl (do not use metal)
2 cups baking soda
10-20 drops of essential oils (use clear or light-colored ones such as lemon, grapefruit, or tea tree)

Before you begin, hammer holes into the top of the mason jar.
Pour 2 cups of baking soda into a glass bowl.
Add your choice of essential oils to the baking soda.
Mix well, and break up any clumps.
Pour mixture into the mason jar and tightly screw on lid.

To use:
Sprinkle carpet freshener mixture lightly on carpets and rugs. Remember, a little goes a long way.
Allow Carpet Freshener to sit for at least 20 minutes.
Vacuum mixture slowly from carpet to ensure your vacuum has time to suction up the carpet freshener.

Recommended use:
I tend to use this once a month, as a build up of baking soda can seep through the carpet and get under its padding.

Homemade Carpet Stain Remover:
Step 1: Sprinkle the stain with baking soda and let it sit for about 10 minutes, then vacuum it up.
Step 2: Mix 1 tablespoon Dawn dish soap, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 2 cups of warm water.
Sponge this onto the stain and blot with dry cloth, repeating until stain disappears.

Here are some stain remover solutions for specific types of stains:

Coffee and tea stains: pour a bit of beer onto the stain, lightly rub the beer into the carpet, and the stain should disappear. You may need to repeat this process a few times, till completely gone.

Light carpet stains: Dissolve 2 tablespoons salt in 1/2 cup white vinegar. Rub salt mixture onto light stain. Once dry, vacuum.

Ground in dirt and tough stains: Make a paste of 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Using a dry cloth, rub paste into the stain. Let it sit for two days, then vacuum.

Spilled paint: Make a solution of 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons laundry detergent, and two cups water. Sponge away the paint before it sets in and rinse with cold water.

Fruit and fruit juice stains: Mix 1 tablespoon laundry detergent with 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar and combine with two cups of water. Work the solution into the stain and blot with clean dry cloth.

I know as blind/ visually impaired people we donít see any stains that may be on our carpet, but it is a good idea to ask someone close to you to check out your carpets from time to time. The sooner you can attack a stain, the better chance of getting rid of it!
Until next month, remember dirty work is clean fun!

The Beauty Parlor

By Christy Ray

Here is a quick and useful skincare tip for applying face cream:
Make sure your hands and face are clean before applying face cream. Splash your face with cool water, and pat dry.
If using eye cream, apply it first, by dabbing a small amount underneath the eyes. Using your ring fingers gently massage it in, moving out towards your ears.
For the face, gently dab small dots of face cream around your face. Be sure to focus more on the dry areas, as oppose to the oilier ones.
Blend the cream in using your fingers, using small upward circular motions. Always massage up and out, towards your hairline and ears. This will help with the dreaded negative effects of gravity. This can also help remove fluid.
Don't forget to apply cream to your neck as well, as the neck skin is very delicate, and tends to age first.

Have any tips and/ or questions? Just email me at my address above and I will write about it in the next issue.

Cooking Concoctions

By Maxine

Happy Fatherís Day to all the dadís!
Here is a recipe that our very own Nat (author of the Braille Highway, and webmaster) has graciously shared with all of us. This just might be a great dinner idea for dad on Fatherís Day!

Grilled Flank Steak with Chipotle Sauce
1.5 pounds flank steak, trimmed
ľ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons minced garlic
4 large shallots, diced
2 cups beef stock
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
ľ cup balsamic vinegar
ĺ teaspoon salt
ľ teaspoon black pepper
Ĺ teaspoon brown sugar
1 chipotle pepper, finely minced
ľ cup cold butter, cubed

In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil and sautť shallots for 4-5 minutes.
Add garlic and sautť for another minute.
Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
Cool marinade.
Place flank steak in a Ziploc bag and add marinade. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove flank steak from marinade and place on centre of a preheated, hot grill.
Sear 5-8 minutes per side for rare to medium rare.
Remove from grill, tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

While steak is resting, strain marinade into a small pot and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Adjust seasoning and thicken with 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed.
Add butter one cube at a time until sauce is thickened and glossy.
Slice flank steak on diagonal, place on a platter and top with sauce.
Serve with a salad, potato wedges, seasonal veggies, and garlic toast!

Riddle & Brain Buster

By Alex Smart


Which tree is the most difficult to get along with?

Answer to Mayís riddle:
I am always in front of you, but you will never see me. What am I?

Brain Buster

In each of the following pairs, shift the last letter of the first answer to the next letter of the alphabet, to get the second answer. Example: adherent to islam, cotton fabric: Muslim, muslin.

prize, conscious.
Frightened, winter apparel worn around the neck.
Person who poses for pictures, computer telephone link.
Very fine, as in a cigar, groom oneself infront of a mirror.
Thirty first president of the US, horses feet.
Sound of a wheel that needs greasing, sound of a pig thatís being greased.
Extremely ugly, thieves get away spot.

Answers to Mayís brain buster:
Cotton for the ear. Q-tip.
Brand of roach killer. D-con.
Striptease garment. G-string.
National supplier of trucks & vans. U-haul.
Revealing dress design. V-neck.
Very revealing picture. X-ray.
House shape. A-frame.
Casual garment. T-shirt.
100 dollar bill. C-note.
Computer to computer communication. E-mail.

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