From Hobby To Business

I enjoy creativity. Thus, at age 15, I started working with automobiles in customization and restyling. In 2001, I started my own business “Custom Effects.” In 2010, after 15 years in the business, a new chapter of my life began. Around this time I had lost my sight and was completely blind. I could still run my business, but I took my change in life as an opportunity to try new things that I may have not thought of participating in before. Further, I wanted to train others in assistive technology and empower others to independence and success.
As I embark on this journey, I want to continue to express my creativity and style. Thus in 2011, I noticed that all these mobility canes that the blind used were white and plain. I wanted a dressy cane, something that reflected my style. I searched online with no success. I decided that well then I will be the first. I dressed up my cane in black and fleur de liss accents and a spiraling silver metallic stripe. My cane was a hit. Well, why can’t I take my skills of my former trade and apply them to making canes for others? The rest is history. What was a hobby became a business that I immensely enjoy. I have a website up, http://www.kustomcane.com that receives a lot of traffic. I have now sold canes from the Golden Gate Bridge in California to Stone Hedge in England. I have come up with other accessories to accent the canes, such as charms,mobility bells, personalized braile charms, and Cane Shield, a protective coating. Kustom Cane has a Facebook page and Twitter page that I enjoy sharing products, ideas, and interaction with friends and customers.as well. I look forward continuing my education to empower others while also reflecting their personality on their canes!

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James’ Top Five I phone Accessible Apps as of August 2013

James’s Top App Picks
As you open the assisted living magazines pages of the numerous devices that are available for the blind to continue in an independant lifestyle, it is invigorating. If you purchased every device to aid you in your daily life activities-like a money identifier, and color reeno- GPS trecker, OCR scanner and recognition software,Calendar,timers, note recorders,bar code scanners,- to name a few, you would be spending thousands upon thousands and would thus need to invest in a large suitcase on wheels or borrow the local grocery stores shopping cart to transport all the devices with you. Further, you will be spending so much money on these items, that once you have acquired these things, you Won’t have the money to use them because you are broke. How nice Apple has provided us with an alternate solution: one device-that handles all those individual devices, and many times in a superior fashion. So, you begin to comprehend how much time and space you will save without having to haul that Piggly Wiggly shopping cart around.Thus, When you tally all the amounts of the prices of those individual devices,and them compare it to the iPhone and of the many things that is already built into its operating system,as well as purchasing the apps that specifcifically pertain to your needs.The variations of price between the two situations are astronomical.The I phone is todays SwiSS Army Knife. A knife that isconpact,has just what you need, and works well with a purpose.
Here are my top apps. I based this on which apps I use the most, accessibility, ease of use, and reliability. I likewise attempted to pick apps of various purpose.
1. Look Tell Money Reader
Instantly recognizes currenciesand speaks denomination with use of the camera. Works fast and with little effort. 21 currencies supported.LookTel Money Reader provides Voice Over support for several languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Polish, Portugese, Russian, Korean, Finnish, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Japanese, Greek, Hungarian, and Mandarin.
2. Tap Tap See
TapTapSee is a free app that helps the blind and visually impaired become more independent in their day-to-day activities.
Identify any object around

Ability to identify US paper currency

Can determine images, colors, and limited text transcriptions. Automatic flash
Auto-focus sound
3. Blind Square

Top 5 Apps
Blind Square
I have found this to be the best GPS app due to its ease of use and layout. No need to hunt and peck for buttons to get your location or direction. Just shake your phone. Blind Square will give the your current address, the nearest intersection, it’s distance, and uses the clock direction to tell you where things are according to where you are facing. I use this to explore new areas with confidence.
4. In Class
A very helpful app for note taking. Best app I have found to organize your notes according to subject or class. In Class will determine which class you are in and will automatically pull up a note for that particular class. Besides text, add audio, video, Photos, and files to your notes if you wish. Share your notes via Facebook, email, messaging. Easily set reminders for assignments and projects. This app has many features to aid you in being organized and efficient.
5. Text Grabber
I am amazed by the capabilities of this app. Last semester I was able to read my fellow classmates’ papers in a in-class workshop using Text Grabber. Take a picture of a document and let Text Grabber do the rest. Further, the app will translate the scanned text into other languages.Or consider this: You have a document in a different language. Take a photo with Text Grabber and the app will translate the text into whatever language you want and read it to you. Edit the text, share via email, mss, or send toyour Evernote account.
Honorable Mentions:
These apps deserve mentioning 🙂
-I Blink Radio
Bookoos of information on technology, legislation, news,resources,entertainment, blogs, podcast,support groups, and so much more.
-i iVzWiz
A personal visual assistant. Unlike Tap Tap See or other apps like OMB, which use visual recognition software,iVzWiz sends your photo and a short audio recording of your liking to actual webworkers, or your social media to get information.
-NFB Newsline
Get access to local and national newspapers. Read the latest Times, National Geographic, and numerous other magazines or periodicals. Notifies you or current weather conditions and alerts. Many features.
-Smart Recorder
Another app for note taking. Record audio and sync with all of your devices.Easy interface with one of the best audio recording quality I have found.
-Mail Shot Group
Organize your contacts and create groups with ease.
-Focus
For all you Facebook lovers-another way to access your Facebook. A simplified and more consistant interface.
I hope these apps will aid you in your independance,confidence, and day to day travels. New apps come out every day and current app get updates or new features. I strive to keep up with the latest new developments of accessible technology and applications. If you or someone you know would like to receive emails on my latest findings,feel free to share my email with them: jimmydagerman80@gmail.com. The only consistant thing in this world is change. The evolution of technology and accessibility is ever advancing. Working together, we will evolve ourselves into successful contributors of society.

I phone Home Button Issues

Has your Home button ever seemed like it was unresponsive or lagged behind? Or even worse- did your home button seem to play dead like an armadillo on a summer road? No worries! You have some options. Try this first:
After just a ffew easy steps, you can recalibrate your home button:
Step 1: Navigate to, and launch one of the stock applications on your iPhone. If you don’t already know, the stock apps are things like weather, YouTube, stocks, settings etc (any that come as part of iOS).
Step 2: When the app is launched, press and hold the Power button located at the top of the device until the ‘Slide to power off’ appears.
Step 3: Press and hold the iPhone home button. Keep the button depressed until the Slide to power off slider disappears and the application quits back to Springboard.
Step 4: Voila! Your home button is now re-calibrated and should be more responsive for you.
Now, what if your home button has kicked The Bucket, with no hope for resurrection? Check out another alternative, for all is not lost:
“Is your iPhone’s home button busted? Do you have to press it down as hard as you can ten times in a row before it actually takes you to the home screen? Are you contemplating buying a new phone because you just can’t stand it any longer? Don’t do that! There’s a simple fix for your problem, and it won’t cost you a dime.
I’m going to let you in on the secret: AssistiveTouch. This is most assuredly the good kind of touch — one that will gently wake you from your home button nightmare.
Before I get into how it works, here’s how to turn it on:
Open up Settings
Tap on General
Scroll down and tap Accessibility
Scroll down almost to the bottom, tap on AssistiveTouch, and switch the button to ON

Once you complete these steps, a small, semi-transparent button will appear on your screen — think of it as the closest Apple will ever get to a widget. And it won’t just appear on your settings screen, it will appear on every screen. You see, this is the button that’s going to take you back home.
You can drag the AssistiveTouch button wherever you please on the left or right-hand side of your screen, but it never disappears, so put it somewhere out of the way. When you touch it, a small menu pops up over whatever screen you’re on, with options for Favorites, Voice Control, Device, and, yes, Home.
Tapping on Home will make the pop-up menu disappear and bring you right back to your home screen, just like your physical home button did. It works like your physical home button in every other way as well. For instance, if you tap on it twice it will activate your phone’s multitasking capabilities.

You’re probably wondering why Apple even snuck this feature in there in the first place. It’s almost like your home button was destined to break all along, right? Actually, AssistiveTouch was designed for people who can’t hit the physical home button properly. Apple understands that it’s important to make modern devices accessible to as many people as possible. It’s just a happy coincidence that it’s also a cheap fix for your broken home button.
And while it may seem a little obtrusive at first, you start to forget the AssistiveTouch button is even there after a while. Give it some time, and you’ll find yourself wondering why it wasn’t there all along, and what’s so good about physical buttons anyway?
Once you’ve sworn off your old home button for good, you may even start to notice there’s a lot of other cool stuff you can do with AssistiveTouch. Want to take a screenshot? Go for it. Turn the volume up or down? You can do that too. In fact, the AssistiveTouch button makes it so that you never have to press another physical button again… Except your power button. If that one goes, and you’ve got a got a busted home button, get yourself to the Genius Bar, and fast.”
One phrase of wisdom I always try to keep in mind is “When all else fails, Reboot! Nine times out of ten, a simple reboot or powering off and on the phone will whip your phone back into shape like Richard Simmons on Sparks.

There are a couple different ways to reboot. How are these two reboots done and which reboot is appropriate for the specific issue that you are having?Stay tuned for a future blog! 🙂

Bullet proof…How possible?

Here is the manuscript to a speech I gave in class in April 2013 about my life experience and the growing rate of suicide.
Bullet-proof
When I hear the word “bullet-proof,” the words that come to mind are strength and survival. With unwavering determination, life’s obstacles will be unable to stand in your way of success. I know that is easier said than done.
Today, many are overwhelmed by life’s pressures. According to the New York Times in 2012, researchers found that the rate of suicide between 2008 and 2010 quadrupled compared to the previous ten years. A study by the United States Center of Disease Control says that an average of one person dies every 16.2 minutes. Hence, by the time our class is dismissed today, six people will have taken their life. I was almost one of those statistics three years ago. A number of conditions, including a six year divorce ordeal, the onslaught of manic depression, and the crash of the automotive industry that my business depended on were a lethal concoction that caused me to give up on life on the 28th of January, 2009. Waking up three days later in the ICU, I was unaware of what had happened, why I couldn’t see. My arms were restrained so that I could not remove the breathing tube or other vital equipment. This was the scariest time of my life. I could not see, move, or speak. At first, I felt like an Etch-A-Sketch, shaken after a life of achievement, and that I had to start all over again from scratch. Yet, after surviving a fifteen percent mortality rate and only losing my eyesight to a gun shot wound, I was most fortunate to still be alive! After of two days of coming to grips with what transpired, I had a renewed determination. I had two choices. I could have either been cared for, or I could take care of myself. I learned that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I had learned to live, and now lived to learn.
Life’s hardships cannot hinder the success of a determined individual. I realized that just because my situation had changed, my life though had just begun. Since then, I have received the education and training so that I can do everything I did before I lost my sight, just differently. I started a new business recently and returned to school so I may be equipped to empower others. I have met so many influential and inspirational that I would not have had the opportunity to meet. I want people to see that disability fosters the ability to reach out and empower others.
Blindness has actually been a blessing, being a fertilizer for my soul, developing my growth into a once again strong, independent person. Around my neck, a brass dog tag is inscribed in braille with the word “bullet-proof.” It reminds me daily that not even a bullet will hinder me from pursuing great things.Works Cited

Carey, Benedict. “Increase Seen in U.S. Suicide Rate Since Recession.” New York Times 4 Nov. 2012.
“National Suicide Statistics at a Glance.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. N.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.

Introduction-Greetings! and Article on Stereotypes

I hope you find this blog useful 🙂 We will address new apps that are /aren’t accessible and useful…stereotypes, ADA laws, fair wages, mobility travel, education,assistive technology, braille related topics, guide dog issues, and much more. I wanted to start by sharing an article I wrote recently that was published in a magazine. Enjoy!
Clear Your Vision: Lose the Stereotypes
What did the blonde say when she opened a box of cheerios? “Oh, look! Doughnut seeds!” The above mentioned comment is an example of a stereotype, an attribute given to a particular group of persons. In this instance all blondes are portrayed as air heads Other examples include Asians being good at math, Jews being cheap, African-Americans liking fried chicken and watermelon, men being insensitive, and women being prone to gossip. Stereotype comes from the Greek word “steros,” meaning firm and solid, and “typos,” meaning impression. Are such solid impressions accurate? Obviously, the bias and prejudice of stereotyping is not reliable. For example, some people think that people who are deaf can not communicate effectively with the rest society, and that people with artificial limbs cannot participate in competitive sports. Anoter perception to consider is that the visually impaired are not as capable of being successful as the sighted community. Such an inaccurate thought, as well as the above mentioned stereotypes, exist due to an opinionated misconception, people’s ignorance or lack of education.
An underlying thought of some is that the blind in general are helpless, needing their hand held like a small child, because of inadequacies and incapabilities. A visually impaired friend from Indiana expresses,that “The public consciousness as demonstrated through literature and artwork through the ages depicts the blind as poor, beggars, dirty, and dehumanized individuals. The collective social perception may arise because this may allow us to disconnect compassion and remove any feeling of guilt with respect to the individual or their situation that we may not be able to fix or change.” Yet another friend of mine, Karen Nelson, a mobility and orientation instructor for the Middle Tennessee area, reminded me of an instance not long after loosing my vision.My father and I were in the waiting area at the doctor’s office. A gentleman was sitting across from us facing our direction. The man apparently noticed me, but instead of directing his words at me, he proceeded to ask my father, “So is your son blind?” I wanted to say “Yeah, and deaf too.” I wondered why the man did not address me. Karen aided me in comprehending the man’s actions by expressing that “People often think persons who are blind are unable to do for themselves. What I see that [the] public doesn’t approach persons who are blind because they don’t know what to do or say. There are not the visual cues indicating it is okay. But someone like you who opens the door verbally when near people helps them know that they are welcome to interact with you.” In a sense, it’s understandable because I myself had not met many blind people before my vision loss.Therefore, I grasp the uncertainty of interacting with blind individuals.
When it comes to the work place, can the blind provide comparable or even exceed expectations? The visually impaired have proven through many examples that lack of vision is not a issue when it comes to job performance when provided with the appropriate training and technology if needed. Today, numerous blind personalities carry out their own law firms, doctor’s practices, or are professional athletes such the blind golfer Jeremy Poincenot. However, some employers feel, due to the fact that they do not have the sense of vision, they are inferior, and thus they are not qualified to receive competitive pay. In fact, according to current federal laws, an employer can attain a certificate on a disabled individual mandating a wage less than minimum wage. This is justifiable by law. Reports have come to the forefront regarding certain employers, such as Goodwill, paying their disabled employees as little as one dollar or less an hour! Many advocacy organizations, including the American Federation for the Blind and the National Federation for the Blind, are working with legislation as we speak to ratify and provide equal opportunity to all United States citizens, even if they are disabled. A person’s disability should not be exploited by multi-million dollar companies who misuse outdated regulations. To abuse the hard work of their employees, pocketing the deserved wages and government incentives for themselves.
I personally know of many fine examples of blind individuals who have such an outstanding determination to vigorously pursue their goals and be an active, productive citizen. The examples I have in mind control their circumstances, and don’t let their circumstances control them. Jessica Beecham, a dear friend of mine, has been blind most of her life. Jessica’s eye disease has continued to worsen her limited peripheral vision. Has Jessica allowed her” lack of vision” to give her a “lack of vision?” Quite the opposite! I have never met someone with such zeal and devotion to helping others, advocating rights of people with all disabilities, working with troubled children, and assisting students at a university so that they may get the most of their higher learning experience through education and assistive technology. Jessica was one of the first blind individuals I met when I had first lost my vision. At the time, I was uncertain of my future, as well as what I was capable of doing with my life. Jessica’s vast knowledge was immediately perceived in speaking with her. Her big heart, and sincere eagerness to assist, moved me more than words can say. Jessica reminds me of “The Energizer Bunny”, always on the go, traveling and participating in a vast array of adventuresome activities that most sighted people have not even attempted to pursue or even had the opportunity for that matter. One instance, of Jessica’s “always on the go” mentality happened this past summer I called Jessica to see what she plans she had for that day. Jess replied, “Oh, just about to do a little sky diving.” She could not be more audacious with such a statement. I am aware I still have a lot to learn, but I owe much thanks for her example, assistance when I needed her viewpoint, and her friendship.
I have certainly been guilty of stereotyping groups of people, even intentionally at times. Human tendency is to prejudge. Everyone who is honest with himself or herself will be humble enough to admit they live up, or better said, live down, to such conduct. However, knowledge is power. Occasionally, interaction with the blind, widening out, making an effort to get to know such ones,can give a person a different perspective. Says one father of a recently blinded son, “My contact with the visually impaired while I was growing up was limited to television and musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, and Ronnie Milsap. In the 1990’s I volunteered at the Guiding Hands for the Blind and worked at a radio station where for several years we read local newspapers to around three hundred local visually impaired individuals. I received feedback from such ones from the blind community who enjoyed my reading, but never had the privilege of meeting a fan face-to-face. As a parent, I had no idea what to do when my son lost his sight. I found through research a tremendous amount of support groups, organizations, and facilities that help parents understand the impact in their life and when an accident that leaves a young one blind and most important, how to get help. When I am with my son attending meetings and sporting events, and getting to know those involved, it is clear that many with visual impairment are very capable in organizational management and pursuing higher education and competitive athletics, with the goal in mind of helping others experiencing the same challenges…. A person who loses his sight or has never had sight can learn to do almost anything anyone else can do. I have witnessed it firsthand.”
So, the blind are as incapable and dependent on others, as every blonde when opening a box of Cheerios says, “Look! Doughnut seeds!” Stereotypes are often found unreliable and inaccurate. Never let stereotypes of any individual, color, race, or ethnicity give you a false perspective of one’s capabilities, characteristics, or demeanor. The same courtesy should be extended to those disabled, and more specifically, visually impaired. Many blind people have pursued productive careers that many sighted people only dream about having– like the attorney, Richard h.Bernstein from Michigan. Such fine examples have altered the vistas of certain opinionated people and have shown that blindness is not a disability, but a mere issue that becomes a non issue with the proper training , education, and assistive technology.Various governments as well are discerning the true abilities of the disabled and are amending legislation that reflects such truth. The blind do not possess super human capability. Once at Kroger, I approached the counter to pay for my goods. The cashier skipped the whole introduction formality and says, “Hey, so, do you have super duper hearing?”
I kind of laugh to myself, then reply, “Well, I do pay more attention to my hearing as well as other senses to navigate or do other things.”
The cashier then replies back by saying, “Well, I just saw the movie Daredevil , and he (the blind character) had super duper hearing. So, umm, tell me what else can you do?”
I had to hold myself from saying, “Leap tall buildings with a single bound and catch a bullet with my teeth!””
Another cashier Behind me finally said to the young man, “ Shut up and quit asking him stupid questions.”
Hence, are “solid impressions” always as solid as commonly thought? No! The point is the blind are just like everyone else. The blind are not super-humans with “super-duper” sensory abilities; they merely accomplish the same tasks, just in a different manner. Yes! Clear your vision– lose the stereotypes! Never underestimate the underestimated.