My October Newsletter for New England Low Vision and Blindness

I have been writing these newsletters for a while for New England Low Vision and Blindness
I decided to go ahead and post it here as well. I am hoping you will find something helpful or interesting.

Gayle’s October Low Vision and Blindness Products Newsletter
Posted on October 21 2014 by Gayle Yarnall

Fall is here in New England, and it is a great time for the world to be recognizing blindness and low vision in so many ways. October is Blindness Awareness Month, and there are many celebrations and fundraisers going on across the country and the world to celebrate blindness, low vision, braille, eye care, children’s vision, world sight, white canes and blind Americans equality to name just a few of the noteworthy themes.
This is a bad year for acorns or a good year if you are a squirrel. We will be pulling small oak trees out of our gardens next year that were nicely planted by the squirrels (better in our garden than in our attic). Be careful when you walk on your drive way. Those little round acorn monsters can get you whether you are blind or sighted.
Gayle’s Monthly Book Review
Because this is Blindness Awareness Month, I decided to select a book with a brilliant blind character for my October book review. All The Light We Cannot See is not just another World War II heart wrenching story; it is also not a typical blindness story. I actually am not gravitated to blindness stories. I am somewhat attracted to WWII stories.

Anthony Doerr has written a magnificent and deeply moving novel about two young people whose paths cross through unlikely circumstances. A brilliant young German boy finds himself in an academy for talented boys run by the Nazis. During the same time period, a blind French girl is growing up with her father who may have possession of a very valuable jewel. When things get dangerous in Paris, he and his daughter flee to live with an eccentric uncle in a seaside village in France. I will stop here and let you read this book for yourself.
If you are visually impaired, I recommend using a digital talking book reader as a great way to enjoy the books that I review.
Victor Reader Stream Has New Software
The new software for the Victor Reader Stream (handheld media player for the blind and visually impaired) is here.

If you are not using version 4.4.8, you will want to upgrade your Victor Reader Stream.
I have my Victor Reader Stream set to automatically download software upgrades when I go online. Now with the latest update, I can directly download books from BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download). BARD is the online source for books from NLS (National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped). Since these are human speech audio books, the download process takes a while, but Victor keeps you up-to-date on the process, and you can read another book at the same time. It is fun to just sit in my comfy chair and wander through book choices on my Victor Reader Stream.
With the new software update, podcasts can be directly downloaded to Victor Reader Stream. Podcasts are a new source of information for me, and I have not yet listened to many podcasts. If there is a regular podcast source that you like, you can add it to your list and the latest podcast will be downloaded automatically whenever you are online.
If you have not yet purchased the Victor Reader Stream (New Generation) this is a good time to do so. Remember, you can purchase your Victor or any other blindness products from New England Low Vision and Blindness. For more information visit:
I still prefer reading books on my Victor Reader Stream over my phone. I read so much every day that my phone battery would always be dead if I didn’t.
Apple’s IOS 8 is Released with VoiceOver Issues

Apple’s IOS 8 is out and phones that are 4S or higher can be upgraded. Fortunately, I have been watching list serves that are for people who use VoiceOver with their IOS devices and was warned not to upgrade my software. My advice for visually impaired users is to wait on this update.
I really want the new iPhone. I think I will go with the iPhone 6 rather than the iPhone 6 Plus because I don’t want a phone that won’t fit in my pocket. I am hoping to wait just a little while to see if the VoiceOver issues get resolved soon.
Video Magnifier Hints for Autumn
If you use a video magnifier (CCTV), you should not be missing the fall colors. Here in New England it is autumn and in other parts of the world it is spring. In either case, this is the time for eye-popping, easy-to-see colors and wonderful sounds.

If you have a DaVinci or another video magnifier with a camera that lets you view the outside, this is the time to be watching for new birds at your feeder. 3-in-1 video magnifiers have camera heads that swivel to allow you to see near far and everywhere in between. With these magnifiers you can enjoy the brilliant colors in your yard.
If you have a non-moveable desktop video magnifier you can still bring samples of leaves into your living room and view them under the video magnifier. Trust me on this one; the leaves never looked so good. Let other family members share in the fun. They will soon be hunting outside for the best leaves.
Don’t forget to use your distance viewing camera to check out the trick-or-treaters that come to your door.
I love the fall. We can still have our windows open and enjoy the outdoors. I hear geese flying over my house this time of year and acorns falling in my driveway. Sometimes I just have to stop what I am doing and listen…

Contact us to learn more about our low vision and blindness products and training services.
If you would like more information, a training or a demo on any of the low vision and blindness products I have discussed in this newsletter, please email us at or call us at 888-211-6933.

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