Monday, October 29, 2012

Communication Corner: VideoBrix Personal Communicator by AbleNet

VideoBrix Personal Communicator is a simple and quick solution to communication messages and reminders wherever they are needed. Use VideoBrix to record a daily reminder in the classroom or a friendly message to your child at home.  Within minutes a parent or educator can record a single message with the device's onboard camera and microphone. The screen will help show which button to press to play (or record) a message. VideoBrix features include: quick and easy single message communicator, built in full-color LCD screen, camera and microphone, built in magnet to attach anywhere, power on/off switch, rechargeable with included USB cable, and up to 90 seconds of recording time.  Check out this YouTube Video on how to program a message on the VideoBrix. VideoBrix cost $59 and can be purchased from Ablenet, Inc.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tech Tip: Troubleshooting a "Frozen" Computer Program

Computer software is great, when it works. Sometime even my favorite program will get stuck from time to time, and not matter what I click, nothing happens. It's really annoying when a program freezes, but it's even worse if you don't know what to do about it. Luckily both Mac and PCs have a way to deal with a stuck program.

Fair warning: If a program freezes and won't let you leave, the following solution will get you out but you will lose any work that hasn't been saved. For example if you were in writing a document in Word and the software freezes, then all that work is likely gone. That's why it is a good idea to save your work and back up your computer consistently and frequently. Sometimes a program will "unstick" if you give it some time. A "force quit" is a last resort type of tip.

To Force Quit a Program on a Mac
To force quit a program on a Mac you need to open the Force Quit window one of two ways. If your mouse pointer is working, you can go to the top right corner of the screen, click on the Apple logo and choose "Force Quit" from the menu. If you can't use the mouse, then press the key combination Command-Option-Escape on your keyboard. The Force Quit Applications window will appear with a list of the programs that are running. Select the program that is frozen and then click the button marked "Force Quit."

To Force Quit a Program on a PC
To force quit a program on a PC you get to use the most famous keyboard shortcut: Control + Alt + Delete. If you are using Windows XP, the Task Manager window will appear. If you are using Vista or Windows 7, Task Manager will be among the options that appear. Click on Task Manager. In the Task Manager view you have a variety of tabs to choose from. Click on the tab marked Applications. You will now see a list of all the applications that are running and their status.  To force a program to close, click on it in the list and click the button marked "End Task." You can now close this box and return to your desktop.  You can restart the program that was giving you trouble and if you have developed the habit of frequently saving and backing up your work you can pick up where you left off.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pinning Assistive Technology Resources and Links

Social media can be a great tool for sharing news and resources.  In addition to Facebook and Twitter the Simon Technology Center has recently started to use Pinterest.  Pinterest is a rapidly growing social networking site.  It acts somewhat like a corkboard where users can "pin" things they are interested in to their boards for later reference.  People are even having Pinterest Parties featuring food and decorating ideas from Pinterest.  The Simon Technology Center is using Pinterest to "pin" technology ideas, apps, sites, resources, therapy ideas, articles, videos and more.  Check it out at

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Staff Pick: Chester Mouse

For young children with small hands, using a regular computer mouse can be a difficult task. A two button mouse can be confusing. The Chester Mouse by Chester Creek solves both of these dilemmas. The Chester Mouse is small, has one-button, and is easy to control. The Simon Technology Center Library has a Chester Mouse available for check-out. For more information about the Chester Mouse or other computer access methods for your child, please contact the Simon Technology Center at 952-838-9000 or at