Welcome to the index page for SVCB's meeting program segments. Through links on this page, you can stream or download presentations that occurred during the program segments at monthly meetings of the Silicon Valley Council of the Blind. Roger Petersen, our Program Committee Chair, will announce each program.
Program segments posted here have been approved by their presenters for online availability. Other segments that have not been approved are available to SVCB members by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Feedback is welcomed. Send comments to email@example.com. Thank you.
What are streaming and downloading?
Each month in the list below is a link to your selected program.
Streaming: When you click or enter on the month, your media player starts, and you hear the program almost immediately. The problem is, you can only listen to it, you can't move forward or backward easily nor do you have a copy of the program on your computer to listen to later. But if you just want to sit back and listen, streaming is the right choice. When you want to stop the program, exit your media player (typically with the Alt-F4 key combination).
Downloading: When you right click or Windows context key on the month and select "Save link as..." the sequence you use to download a file starts. After the file is downloaded, you go to the location you saved to and double click or Enter on the file you want to listen to. The file names are "ps" + month + 2-digit year + ".mp3", e.g. ps0110.mp3 for January 2010. The difference is that now you can easily move backward and forward through the program as well as increase the speech rate (on some players). The downside of the download process is that getting the file to your computer can take some time, perhaps two minutes.
Depending on file associations on your operating system, you may have trouble with the audio links. If nothing happens when you click on the month link, try right clicking the link instead.
If you can only listen to audio, the audio file can still be downloaded. Here's how:
Do the keystroke to stop the audio. This is Control-P in Windows Media Player.
Pull down the file menu: typically with Alt-F.
Select the "Save as" function.
The name of the audio file will be highlighted so all you have to do is click the "Save" button.
You will be returned to your media player after the file has downloaded to your computer.
Select Stream or Download on a month below after choosing a year.
Our speaker at the October 20 meeting was Beth Berenson from the new Vision Loss Resource Center at the San Francisco LightHouse. She sketches the history of the LightHouse, explains what the Vision Resource Center is and how it can serve us here in Santa Clara County. Some of us already receive the weekly bulletins she sends out with the described movies and other current entertainment items. She was eager to talk to us, and you'll find this an engaging presentation.
We celebrated our 20th anniversary. Cathy Skivers, honorary SVCB member and past-President of CCB, highlighted the meeting; and past SVCB President's described how it was during their watches. Introductions are also included -- lots of fun!
Debbie Archuleta, from Outreach, give us a lively and informative explanation of the aspect of the Santa Clara paratransit service. She answers many questions and adroitly handles passionate responses.
Roger got it right--the May program was a potpourri of presentations. Kenneth Frasse from the Silicon Valley Lions Blind Center tells us about a new grant and what they plan to do with it. He then announces a new technology company he is involved with--and wants participants. Roger shows us how his accessible thermostat works. Dawn Wilcox gives us a fast-paced version of her Blood Pressure 101 seminar which she gave at the spring CCB convention. Donna Sanchez describes her experiences with the Nokia N85 cellphone she bought through the AT&T plan. And there is even time for some reports from the spring convention. Whew!
To begin this program, Cathie Skivers, SVCB's honorary member, bestows the Distinguished Service Award, over her cell phone, on Sam Chen for translating Failing Sight and the Family Plight into Chinese--a wonderful little ceremony.
Next, Jim Bigilo presents aspects of high-speed rail transportation such as the service between San Jose and San Francisco and the proposed service between Los Angeles and the SF Bay Area.
To begin this program, Bernice Kandarian describes the very first Hollis G Ligget Award, granted at the 2008 ACB convention, to the Blind Californian as the best ACB affiliate newsletter of 2008.
Then Roger Petersen introduces Casey Kohl from the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP). She tells us about the products CTAP offers to deaf and visually people as well as showing us how to apply for the program.
Our September program featured Alice McGrath from the Vista Center. She is Outreach Coordinator there. We learn about about its history, the various facilities it now has and the various things Alice is now doing, such as organize the 2009 Braille Challenge.
The first part of our November program was a tribute to Barbara Rhodes, who passed away on October 24, 2008.
The second part of the program was a presentation by Nicole Torcorini, who is blind and a going to Stanford. She developed a program in the latex mark-up language to translate Nemeth code into properly formatted Mathematical printouts.
At our Annual Meeting, the program segment was devoted to a brainstorming of ideas for the future course of SVCB. It was led by Susan Schulter, a blind English teacher at West Valley College. She will summarize ideas into an article for the In Touch newsletter.
Lyn Saunders, Systems Change Advocate for the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, talked to us about her many-faceted career and how System Change advocates work to improve the lives of disabled people.
Our May program begins with Kartik Gopal from Stanford University told us about research he is doing with cell phone technology for the blind community.
Gretchen Ehlers is a girl scout leader, along with SVCB member Susan Schulter, and she told us about a Bronze Award Assembly her troop is doing to relate their experiences with blind and visually impaired people.
SVCB member Walter Schinke from Gilroy discussed how to get things done through the ADA in towns and small cities.
Our July program consisted of a report by Roger Petersen of his experiences at the 20009 ACB convention. He then conducted a question and answer session concerning a resolution, to be considered at the fall CCB convention in Fresno, of whether to continue with semi-annual CCB conventions or change to annual conventions.
Our September program featured James Unitis from VTA and Katie Heatley from Outreach. We learned about changes to bus and lite rail routes and what Outreach is doing to help riders deal with restricted service hours.
At our November 21 meeting, Scott Blanks, Steve Clark and Silvana Rainey from Adaptive Technology Services in San Francisco spoke with us. They do training, scripting and consultation plus run a program to help blind people prepare for work. They can be reached at 866-564-6650.
The January, 2010 annual meeting featured Susan Schulter moderating the discussion of an amazing spectrum of educational experiences members of our group have had. From those who attended residential schools for the blind to people who were mainstreamed, their views are all here! And we even heard from members who lost their sight in adulthood and how their educational experiences helped them cope with visual impairment.
April 1 is "Census Day." This is the day when, every ten years, everyone is to be counted according to the US Constitution. Besides the Constitutional purpose of[D[D of apportioning Congressional seats, the Census is important in determining how a lot of federal money is handed out.
Doris Tse, Partnership Specialist in the local office of the Bureau of the Census, talked with us about how we can best participate in the census and avoid scams from people who say they are census takers and are not.
We have a tradition of inviting members of the League or Women Voters to tell us about upcoming state propositions. In this case, these are issues in the June 8, 2010 primary election. This SVCB member Julie Lovins and Mary Nichols from the League told us about the Props and measures.
This meeting was historic! We presented the first ever Barbara Rhodes Technology Grant Award to Fulton Mah of San Jose. Barbara's brother Frank was also there.
We heard about CCB's newly constituted Deaf-blind committee, which is working on making the CCB conference and convention accessible to all hearing-impaired people. Then Mike Keithley described his involvement with the Confident Living Program seminar from Jan 10 to 14.
Frank Welte, CCB's Director of Governmental Affairs, told us about ACB and CCB 2011 legislative agendas. In addition, we lengthened our introduction period so those who wanted to could say more than just their names.
David Strauss and his business group from Sanford University garnered feedback for a start-up product for their business. We were in focus groups most of the time, so this program is shorter than most.
At our April meeting, Karina Pikhart from 6dot Innovations, a start-up company in Palo Alto, demonstrated its first assistive-technology product: a labeler that embosses braille on 1/2 inch dymo tape using a 6-dot braille keyboard. It's very close to market, and orders are being taken. No more squeezing and turning a wheel to get fuzzy braille!
In the program segment of our May membership meeting, Kari Kelly, once Kari Fox and receptionist at Telesensory, brought us up-to-date with events in her life. She's back to school, married and is starting her own business as a life coach. I'm hoping she'll be an SVCB member soon.
At our October meeting, we had an informative program from Abilities United, which has a swim program with free swimming and various kinds of rehabilitation classes. SVCB member Amy Shao goes there and was instrumental in getting the presenters to come and talk to us.
At our November meeting, we held a short celebration of SVCB's 25th anniversary. Also, Michelle Klein and Peter Gordon from Jasper Ridge Inc., a company that offers small, portable LED lights that people with low vision can use for reading, talked to us about their bright, sharply-focused light source, mounted on glasses, for comfortable reading. Jasper Ridge markets these lights under the name "VisionEdge" from its base in San Mateo, and its email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Our February program was unique: it was done solely over the phone! Speaker Judy Wilkinson couldn't attend our meeting, so Bev Clifford contributed her iPhone in hopes that we could talk to her in her living room. It was connected to the sound system, and we found that not only could everyone hear her, she could hear people talking on the mics. And there was no feedback either. As this experiment was so successful, we'll be doing it again.
Our March program featured Dawn Wilcox and Roger Petersen talking about the Health Library at Vista Center, where you can get important information on your eye condition. Lynnette Kursey described the Braille Project at the Silicon Valley Blind Center and what goes on there.
Our April program featured a great presentation from Dinesh Desai (a long-time SVCB member), who described walking adventures like trekking in Death Valley in 128 degree heat, and walking from the Oregon border to Baha.
Our September program speaker came recommended to us by Naomi Grubb. We heard from Ken Pealmon of the American Red Cross, who will talk with us about measures that we can take as blind people to be prepared for emergencies.
Our October program speaker was Mr. Riza Ladchartabi, who is designing a navigation system specifically tailored to the needs of blind travelers. The system uses Google Glass technology, and some of our chapter members have already tried it. Mr. Ladchartabi spoke briefly about the navigation system at our June meeting, but this time he'll spend a full hour with us, explaining and demonstrating the navigation technology.
One of the realities of growing older, as all of us are, is that we often acquire disabilities in addition to blindness. Not least among these is hearing impairment, and a few of us have been blind and hearing impaired for much of our lives. Our November program will feature a panel discussion led by Roger Petersen, Mike Keithley, and Donna Sanchez on coping with issues faced by those of us who are blind and hearing impaired.
In May of 2014, Ms. Shiloh Curtis, then a junior at Laughing Thunder Academy in Sunnyvale, won first prize in the California State Science Fair. Her project should interest everyone in our chapter. Its official title is Enabling Situational Awareness: A Hat-Based Hands-Free Haptic Navigational Aid for the Visually Impaired. Essentially, it's a hat that vibrates along different parts of the wearer's head to indicate specific positions of obstacles. Ms. Curtis will be the program presenter at our January 17 meeting. She has already tested the hat on at least ten subjects, but she and her adviser, Dr. Youssef Ismail of Schmahl Science Workshop in San Jose, would like feedback from as many blind people as possible in order to improve the device. So they are bringing the hat to our meeting, and those of us who are interested can try it out. Ms. Curtis has a series of tasks that she'd like each tester to complete, such as detecting different obstacles using the hat, shorelining with the hat, etc. After finishing the tasks, each tester will complete a brief questionnaire. The entire process takes around 30 minutes, so not everyone will get to be a guinea pig. Come early if you're super interested; I've told Ms. Curtis that she can start the testing by 9:30. We'll do the hat testing in the Monte Vista Terraces library, and while it's happening, the rest of us will share our latest and greatest tech gadgets and updates in the Monte Vista Terraces dining room. So bring that new iPhone, hearing aid, GPS software, snazzy cane, and latest guide dog training technique. For some of us, our canine pals equal and even surpass technology. You can also bring any tech question that you need to troubleshoot. I hope this two-tiered program will please everyone.
Our February program will feature one of our new members, Ms. Abby Tamara. Abby holds Masters Degrees in Print Making and Social Work, and a Bachelors degree in Painting and Drawing. It's no surprise, then, that her recent discovery that she has macular degeneration has given her pause: "My world is visual," she says, "populated with colors and shapes. Losing that will be harder for me than daily, functional issues related to blindness."
Our March program speaker will be Ms. Celia McGuiness, ESQ., of the law offices of Paul L. Rein in Oakland, California. Her name will be familiar to you if you heard our February program speaker, Abby Tamara. Ms. McGuiness was the attorney who helped Abby win her lawsuit against a psychiatric ward that refused to allow her service dog Inglis to remain with her while she was being treated there. Ms. McGuiness was recently appointed Governor Brown's adviser on access and disability. She will tell us about her ongoing advocacy work, and share her personal reasons for becoming interested in disability law. She also hopes that she can represent SVCB and CCB concerns in her capacity as an accessibility adviser.
Our April program speaker will be Ms. Laura Eberly. A number of our chapter members met her at this year's Braille Challenge where she worked as a sighted volunteer in the scoring room. Then John, Bev, Vic, and I encountered her again at the CSUN conference in San Diego. Laura is a volunteer at Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and a participant in LightHouse Labs with The San Francisco LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She lives and works in Silicon Valley, and is a native of Pittsburgh, PA. She will be talking about enjoying the many benefits of working with the blind community, including "being warmly welcomed, getting to use cool technology, and receiving awesome directions from her blind friends when she's lost."
We didn't have a May meeting because of the VIPTUC conference.
Our program for the June meeting will feature Casey Koh, an outreach specialist for the California Telephone Access Program (CTAP). This program provides equipment free to California residents who have difficulty hearing, seeing, moving, speaking, or remembering. SVCB had a CTAP presentation some years ago, but technology is always changing, so it will be interesting for us to see what's new. Casey writes, "I'd love to come to one of your meetings and show your members our low vision phones and explain the application process."
Our July program featured a report on and discussion of the VTA's proposal to move the 522 bus line to the center lane. Our Transportation Chair Cam Acker will share all the information that she has gleaned from the VTA on this matter, and will try to answer any questions that you may have. You can review the May and June issues of In Touch for Cam's original report, and for a follow-up perspective written by Greg Fowler. Here's a big shout out to both Cam and Greg for your advocacy regarding this issue.
Our program for the month of September will probably strike you as unconventional. We're calling the first ten minutes of the program "Three Roses," and it is intended to honor three beloved SVCB members who have passed away this year: Steve Nakagawa, Susan Hyatt, and Rose Deterding. You can see from whence the "Rose" in our title comes. The balance of our program time focuses on employment issues facing blind and visually impaired people.
Our guest speaker for November was Ms. Erin Foley, Director of the Hatlen Center for the Blind. Started in 1972 as the Living Skills Center for the Blind located in San Pablo, Hatlen is a residential program where students live in a two-bedroom apartment with a roommate. The program teaches independent living skills including cooking, cleaning, money management, shopping, mobility, etc. Come learn all about this unique program and all it has to offer.
Our January 16 program was exciting, as our own Brian Higgins updated us on progress that he's making on his guide robot. Who knows! Maybe some of us will even get a chance to try it out. I hope the dogs won't be too jealous!
Many of you are already familiar with our February program speaker, Ms. Cathy Cassetta, Artistic Director of the Tabard Theatre in San Jose. Ms. Cassetta founded Tabard 15 years ago, and she describes it as a performing arts family that embraces audience participation. Speaking to a newspaper reporter back in 2011, Ms. Cassetta said, "I wanted a name for the company that had history and depth, something that had substance. Nothing that sounded trendy or fly-by-night. Tabard resonated with me because it was the name of the inn where pilgrims gathered on their way to Canterbury, and aren't we all on a journey? Together? And at the Tabard Inn, the innkeeper gave a free meal to whomever told the best story. What an inspired innkeeper he was!" Come to our February 20 program and let Cathy Cassetta entertain you with stories of Tabard's rich history and journey.
Our April Program speaker was Janet Ghanem, director of Seniors Breathe Easy at Breathe California. She talked about the benefits of Exercise and how it motivate us to move more and maintain independence as we age.
Our January program speaker was Mr. Jeff Thom, CCB's Director of Governmental Affairs. Jeff joined us by phone to fill us in on pending state and Federal legislation that's relevant to the blind and visually impaired community, and suggested ways in which we can advocate for the passage of that legislation. He also told us about ACB's midyear legislative seminar and Capitol Hill activities. And there was plenty time for questions and dialog.
Ms. Contessa Lunn was the March program speaker, and she talked about the California Telephone Access Program, sometimes known as CTAP or California Phones. She had some new phone gadgets to show us. Contessa was 45 minutes late so we conducted part of the business meeting. So this file is the complete March meeting.
Most of you may know that our own Dawn Wilcox is a sailor, and she's passed her love of sailing down to her son Garth and daughter-in-law Wendy. Wendy has written two books about sailing: Tightwads on the Loose (2012), and now, Sea Trials Around the World with Duct Tape and Bailing Wire. She was our April speaker and shared parts of Sea Trials with us.
Ms. Jennifer Garten, representative from Breathe California (which has given several talks at the Blind Center), talked to us about the importance of air quality and how you can protect your home. She also led us in deep-breathing exercises.