A few months ago, I shared a great-looking combo of themes that give Windows XP and Firefox a dark, unified look. WindowBlinds is an app that achieves the same end, but brings a large gallery of theme options to you. Dress your desktop up or down with default selections or choose specially-formatted third-party themes that download straight into WindowBlinds. Either way, the sharp visuals and full-featured, easy-to-use configuration manager make this application a recommended choice for anyone interested in pimping out their desktop. Aww, yeah.
ANNAPOLIS, Md.--Hybrid cars may be on every environmentalist-cum-trend setter's hot list, but their surging popularity is raising alarms among the blind and their advocates, who fear the near-silent vehicles could endanger lives.
In recent months, the National Federation of the Blind has launched what is becoming an international lobbying campaign for legislation that encourages--or flat-out requires--automakers to install noisemaking technology to address those potential perils.
Top NFB leaders focused their efforts Tuesday on this quaint state capital on the Chesapeake Bay, where legislation creating a state "Quiet Vehicles and Pedestrian Safety Task Force" is pending. If … Read more
The benefits of hybrid cars have been outlined and debated exhaustively. However, the National Federation of the Blind will testify next week on the dangers hybrid vehicles in silent mode pose to the blind, and other pedestrians. So called "full hybrid" cars, such as the Toyota Prius, and the Lexus GS450h shut off their combustion engines and rely on propulsion from quiet electric motors under certain low-speed driving conditions. According to the NFB, "hybrid vehicles are virtually silent when accelerating and decelerating, making it impossible for blind individuals to detect their presence". To address the issue, … Read more
Peter Kafka at Silicon Alley Insider has started a little guessing game: which anonymous New York tech start-up is getting backed by influential ex-Googler Chris Sacca, who left his job as head of special initiatives to become an angel investor?
On Sunday, Sacca wrote on his blog that he's looking for a "Web geek" for an "edgy little content company" based in Gotham, which "needs its first full-time tech lead."
Greater availability of silicon germanium chips and better reliability in bad weather will make radar technology favored over other automotive obstacle detection technologies, according to an ABI Research report released Wednesday.
There are four major types of obstacle detection technologies currently used in vehicles for applications like blind spot detection and parking assistance. Radar will probably win out over sonar, lidar, and cameras, said David Alexander, principle analyst at ABI Research, who specializes in telematics and automotive research .
Remember the Fake Sun Roof? Now there's a pretend window you can put up on a blank wall too.
Designed by Mongoose, it's a potential solution for overworked, underpaid underlings who complain that they're stuck in a window-less room all day. To create that clever illusion of sunlight, Makoto Hirahara's Bright Blind uses electroluminescent sheets. If the fake sunlight gets a bit too bright, simply adjust the blind down just like the real thing.
Microsoft and open-source site SourceForge plan to offer a free plug-in early next year that will convert Office 2007 files to the Daisy format, which translates text to speech.
The free tool will add a "Save as Daisy" option within Word 2007 and 2003. Daisy, or Digital Accessible Information System, XML files can be "read" aloud by speech synthesizers, paired with audio narration, and used to create electronic Braille. Users can navigate open-standard Daisy documents quickly by jumping between page elements such as headers and indexes.
"Sometimes you just want to go out immediately, with reckless abandon."
So says the front page of CrazyBlindDate.com, which aims to get people together on sporadic blind dates with very little notice. The site--whose creators also are responsible for OKCupid.com--was soft-launched in Austin awhile back and officially entered a beta phase on Tuesday with new urban centers in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. The interface is sleek, and the concept is cool, but with this kind of thing it's really all about the people who use it.
Short version: You fill out a … Read more
Leopard is Apple's best-looking operating system yet, from its breezy Cover Flow file browsing to the starry-looking Time Machine backup. It's no wonder visual artists love Macs.
But how well does Leopard work for blind users?
"[Vision-impaired] people who use Macs are mostly in the category of, "My boss says we have to use Macs," or "I'm a teacher and that's what I'm stuck with,"" said Crista Earl, director of Web operations at the American Foundation for the Blind.
Among 10 million visually impaired people in the United States, … Read more
While Power Downloader was sifting through criminal case files recently, he received an e-mail from Kitty Kilobyte who had gone back to school. After telling him of her latest "impossible" assignments and new "amazing" friends she had made, Kitty had an interesting software request. Kitty wanted some way to make her computer stand out from the rest of her classmates. She figured, if she's the niece of a famous software superhero, it should show--perhaps even if it's just in her computer's interface.… Read more