DEDICATED TO IMPROVING THE LIVES OF BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED PEOPLE

Resources for Partners November 6,2020

Bill Gates Answers Common Job Interview Questions

Steph Curry launched a new YouTube interview series, State of Inspiration. For his first interview, Curry spoke with Bill Gates on a variety of topics, including how Gates would answer interview questions as an aspiring Microsoft software engineer. Forbes magazine cherry-picked three of the questions and answers, including that difficult question about salary expectations. “Gates also gives himself leverage in any salary discussion when he says, “I hear other companies are paying a lot.” It reminds the interviewer that this job candidate is in high demand, but treat him fairly and he’ll be a team player.” Read the article, 30-Second-Answers.

Writers’ Corner

Guiding Eyes for the Blind sent along this blogpost by a graduate of their special needs program which has been partially funded by RDPFS for many years. Dr. Paul D. Ellner is writing great stories at 95-years-old in his blog “Visions of a Blind Writer.” He served in the U.S. Navy in World War II, received a Ph.D. at the University of Maryland College of Medicine and went on to teach microbiology and infectious diseases to medical students at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons as Professor of Microbiology and Pathology. An internet search for Dr. Ellner turned up references to his many articles and several medical books, some of which are available on Amazon. Dr. Ellner became deaf twenty- five years ago and blind fifteen years later. In addition to his medical writing, this prolific writer self-published four novels, a biography, and a collection of short stories. He has a blog “Visions of a Blind Writer.” Ray, his guide dog, is the subject of this brief ray-memoirwzxhzdk394by-paul-d-ellner”memoir.
Ellner’s memoir is included in the Fall/Winter 20/21 volume of Magnets and Ladders , an online publication of Active Voices of Writers with Disabilities which is published by Behind Our Eyes, Inc. a non-profit that is “enhancing the opportunities for writers with disabilities”. The current volume includes 60 submissions of short nonfiction, poetry, memoirs and fiction by writers with disabilities, many of whom are blind or low vision. Writers may submit up to three pieces for each volume; next deadline is February 15, 2021 for inclusion in the Spring/Summer issue.

Broadcasting the Weather

Ryan Lukowicz from North Kingstown, RI, is 14, makes weather predictions, and has created a podcast, Behind the Weather. “Every day, I wake up and look at all the different stations and of course Providence, as well as Boston and Connecticut and I combine those different perspectives and turn it into my own forecast.” In his interview with WJAR-TV Lukowicz explains his visual status and how he uses accessibility tools in daily life.

Sam Herron, a legally blind meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Rapid City, South Dakota, explains how he does his job in this piece for Insight, an NFB of South Dakota publication. Among his responsibilities, “I spend a lot of time collecting and processing data. We receive reports from many volunteer observers around western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming. I quality-control these observations to ensure correct data and formats of the reports. Also, I monitor automated observing stations around the area, such as the Rapid City airport station, to make sure that the sensors are reporting properly.” Read the article here.

Pins and Needles? Apps to De-stress

Happify states: “In a world that’s increasingly stressful and complex, we want to provide fun, individualized, and science-based pathways to greater happiness. Above all, we’re here to empower you to take control of your emotional life—and we’re giving you the tools to do it.” Those tools include games and evidence-based exercises and the app will tell a screen reader user whether an activity is visual or not so that user can decide whether to move forward with that activity. There were plenty of graphics on the site, but our tester noted that graphics weren’t accessible with his screen reader.

Evidence-based anxiety relief is also the purpose of MindShift, which offers tools based on cognitive behavioral therapy for worry, panic, perfectionism, social anxiety and phobias. Free for iOS or Android. The blog at Credo Mobile has more suggestions.

Free exercise option for seniors

If you’re tiring of other virtual exercise offerings, Silver Sneakers, the senior exercise program that comes with many Medicare plans, announced “that the entire SilverSneakers On-DemandTM library is now available to everyone, courtesy of eHealth,” until December 31. Check eligibility here or if not eligible “Just complete the form to unlock access to 200+ workout and nutrition videos.” Note: If found not eligible when applying, there may be difficulty progressing with registration.

Dance to the Rhythm (while brunching?)…

The Jewish Museum has a free online family concert with reggae musician Aaron Nigel Smith this Sunday, November 8, 10-10:45 a.m. Hear tunes from Smith’s album In Our America plus popular reggae classics. Sign up on the museum’s website and get a YouTube link for admission to the concert. One free ticket per family, but our screen reader user had difficulty selecting the free ticket….

Or Support Independent Theatres

The Little, a 90-year old movie theater in Rochester, New York, streams independent films online through its Virtual Little portal for a reasonable fee. Perhaps appropriate for the week would be “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President” a rockumentary that shows how music figured in Carter’s presidential run with the likes of Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan to name just a few. Or try The True Adventures of Wolf Boy, about a boy with congenital hypertrichosis who is growing up in upstate New York. Create an account, select the film, get 14 days to start watching, and 72 hours in which to finish for just $4.99. More info here. While our local independent theater, in Bethel, Connecticut, closed permanently in the Spring, seek out a local theater in your area for virtual performances and help them stay open.

Personal Safety Training

Dianna recently heard from Kidpower, which offers online classes that build skills to prevent bullying, abuse, domestic violence and other threats to personal safety. “Rather than just discussing danger…Kidpower services focus on practicing skills” from a prevention outlook that are adapted for children, teens and adults, including those who are blind or low vision, no matter their life situation. Contact co-director Erika Leonard at [email protected] or at 510-334-2242. Website was not completely navigable with a screen reader, but was manageable.

Coming Up

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is hosting a virtual Veterans Day memorial service on November 11 at 1 p.m. Join on their website or on their Facebook page. VVMF also offers a virtual tour of the wall.

NVDA Con, the annual conference for anyone who’s all about the NVDA open source screen reader, goes virtual on December 5 and 6. Learn more while listening to an interview with members of the planning committee at Blind Abilities