Sunday, May 28
Saturday, May 27
How to Write Good
Frank L. Visco
Vice-president and Senior Copywriter at USAdvertising.
My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:
1. Avoid alliteration. Always.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat.)
4. Employ the vernacular.
5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
8. Contractions aren't necessary.
9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
10. One should never generalize.
11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: ``I hate
quotations. Tell me what you know.''
12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
13. Don't be redundant; don't more use words than necessary; it's highly
14. Profanity sucks.
15. Be more or less specific.
16. Understatement is always best.
17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
20. The passive voice is to be avoided.
21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
23. Who needs rhetorical questions?
Monday, May 22
From the Texas Historical Commission:
Flags Over Texas
Six flags have flown over Texas: Spain, France, United Mexican States,
Confederate States of America, the Republic of Texas and the United States
with eight changes of government:
Country or Government
Republic of Texas
Natural and Man-made Wonders
The tidewater coastline of Texas stretches 624 miles along the Gulf of
Mexico and contains more than 600 historic shipwrecks.
The tallest point in Texas is Guadalupe Peak at 8,751 feet.
The Capitol in Austin, built of Texas pink granite, opened May 16, 1888. The
dome of the Capitol stands seven feet higher than that of the nation's
in Washington, D.C.
The Governor's Mansion, built in 1856, is the oldest remaining public
building in downtown Austin.
The largest body of water completely within the boundaries of Texas is Sam
Rayburn Reservoir in East Texas, which covers 113,400 acres.
Texas has four national forests (Angelina, Davy Crockett, Sabine and Sam
Houston), two national parks (Big Bend and Guadalupe Mountains), one
(Padre Island), one national preserve (the Big Thicket), two national
recreation areas (Amistad and Lake Meredith) and one national monument
With more than 267,000 square miles, Texas is as large as all of New
England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined.
Archeology Fun Facts
The Spanish explorers and missionaries, who were the first Europeans to
enter Texas, often adopted Texas Indian names for rivers and other natural
The Spaniards translated the place names into Spanish, and many of the
Indian origins for place-names have been lost. See our selection of
Texas place-names derived from Indian languages
as well as names that are associated with Indians or their activities.
. Native Americans did not use the bow and arrow until about 1,500 years
ago - earlier hunters used spears.
. The horse was introduced to American Indians by the Spaniards after 1500.
. Bison (or American buffalo) were hunted by Native Americans on foot long
before the horse was introduced into the New World.
. The Karankawa of the Texas coast spoke a language related to Indian
languages of the Caribbean region.
. Prehistoric tribes in Texas traded for turquoise and obsidian from New
Mexico, shell from the Pacific and Atlantic coasts and exotic stone from as
away as Minnesota.
. A stone quarry in Texas was used for millennia by inhabitants of the
southern Great Plains and is now a national monument - Alibates National
- in the Amarillo area.
. In addition to projectile points (stone points for arrows and spears),
Native Americans used stone, bone and shell for knives, drills, axes, awls,
and grinding implements.
. Prehistoric people in Texas used plant fibers to make baskets, mats,
sandals and other useful objects. Well-preserved woven sandals have been
archeologists in the dry rock shelters of southwestern Texas.
. Some of the most impressive prehistoric rock art in North America is found
in Texas - visitors can see excellent examples at Hueco Tanks and Seminole
Canyon State Historic Sites.
. Not all Native Americans lived in tipis. Many villagers lived in thatched
or adobe houses, and many nomadic groups lived in brush- or hide-covered
or rock shelters.
. Corn has been cultivated in Texas for at least 2,000 years. Beans and
squash were other staple foods of the early Texas agriculturalists.
. The accounts of early explorers help archeologists understand many sites.
Much that we know about the historic tribes of southern Texas comes from the
accounts of Cabeza de Vaca, who was shipwrecked on the Texas coast and
traveled through southern Texas and northern Mexico for eight years, from
. The first black explorer in Texas was Esteban, a Moor who traveled with
Cabeza de Vaca.
. The Tigua tribe came to the El Paso area from New Mexico in the 1680s, and
some of their fields have been in continuous cultivation since that time.
. The Alamo is a Spanish mission and was the first mission established in
San Antonio, in 1718.
. The first ranches in Texas were the 18th-century Spanish mission ranches
along the San Antonio River, where mission Indians tended the livestock.
. As many as 90 percent of the recorded archeological sites in some areas of
Texas have been damaged or destroyed.
Early Inhabitants of Texas
About 10,000 B.C., the first Indians arrived in Texas. These ancient peoples
are called Paleo-Indians. They hunted mammoths and giant bison and other
that later became extinct.
After 6,000 B.C., Indian lifeways changed, and archeologists call the time
in Texas from then to about A.D. 500 the Archaic Period. During this period
painted beautiful murals depicting human scenes and religious ceremonies on
cave walls in dry areas of West Texas.
The years from A.D. 500 to A.D. 1500 are called the Late Prehistoric Period.
Agricultural Indians domesticated some of our principal crops, including
corn, beans, squash, tomatoes and potatoes. Burial and temple mounds of
these early farmers can be found in the piney woods of East Texas.
Saturday, May 20
Certain people and blogs have speculated on the demise of this service for the time it was down, and some have even put together a petition to bring Web-Braille back. Personally, I think that if this service was as popular as it was, and if enough people emailed the people at NLS expressing their concern that Web-Braille was down, it was only a matter of time before it was fully restored. Evidently, this happened, at least in part. We'll probably know the full story, or more of it, later in the summer when the conventions happen and the NLS people give their annual reports. Though I'm glad the service has returned, I still think that the Web-Braille saga in the last week or two will be a big topic/concern and likely be one of the first issues asked about after the NLS presentations at the conventions.
However, as the Google petition, to make their visual verification code accessible to the blind, got so much coverage and nearly 4800 people signed it, some people have started to think that petitions can solve a problem. Granted, this is just speculation on my part, but I think its valid. Anyway, I never looked at the Web-Braille petition numbers myself, nor did I sign it. Not because I don't support the service, far from it. As I said before, I didn't sign because I had a feeling that the service would be back if enough people emailed NLS, which apparently happened. Petitions, and law suits, have their places. I'm not so sure that Web-Braille deserved one, but that's just my opinion.
Anyway, you can read the text of the return of Web-Braille on the Blind Access Journal among others.
I have enjoyed reading Jonathan Mosen's thoughts on the whole situation, and his reflections and own experiences related to getting material in a specialized format, since he's in the United States from another country. Read his thoughts on the Mosen Explosion Blog. He's currently in a stage where he's putting up lots of news stories and links of different kinds, so you might need to search a little for his comments. One entry that comes to mind immediately is at around 3:30 PM on 5/19/06.
NLS has put some extra security measures in the Web-Braille system, but then again, we knew they would. Speaking realistically here and not with any sort of affiliation with anything implied, its getting harder and harder to exchange free stuff online without any sort of security or copyright concerns. Not that I'm complaining, but just stating fact.
So, go and get that Braille file book that you've wanted to get but couldn't!
Wednesday, May 17
For once in my life, I doubted Google, remembering that I saw the Mavs Spurs game on at 7 in a TV listing. When I turned on TNT though, sure enough, the announcers were talking about the game between Cleveland and Detroit. So Google was right, as always, :)
I've been looking for a way to get the scores for my favorite teams, since I'm now in Austin and not in my long time home town of Dallas, and all of the Dallas teams I'm interested in, or other teams, may not be reported on the local media; I can now get their scores. I can also get the weather for any city, stock quotes, news briefs, and much more.
If you're interested in the many services available to you with a text messaging or web enabled cell phone, then check out the list of services on Google Mobile. This will really help during football season for checking on those NFL or college teams I like. I'm still looking for a service that will automatically message me with the current scores, etc. So if anyone knows of such a thing, then let me know. That would eliminate the need to send a message out for the information. Regardless though, this Google SMS thing is a truly handy thing to have around!
Saturday, May 13
Incidentally, if you're interested in getting one of these shirts, while they last, you can order one from this secure web page.
I suppose this could fit in the series of posts on Dallas. So order your shirt, and show it off at convention with pride. If you're interested in exactly what goes on at The ticket, then click here to listen to The Ticket online. Enjoy.
Did you miss the ATIA Conference in Orlando?
If you made it, did you miss some presentations due to scheduling conflicts?
Now you can access much of the valuable information shared at the ATIA
Conference through www.atiaonline.org
Event Title.........................ATIA 2006 Online Conference
Where.............................Online at www.atiaonline.org
- it's all online!
When?............................ Now! Your virtual booth will be live
through November 30, 2006.
The Cost? ........................Free access to over 50 presentations;
$49.00 for access to all archives
Over 100 hours of audio and video recordings were captured at the ATIA
(Assistive Technology Industry Association) conference held in Orlando this
January. ATIA partnered with OcuSource to create the www.atiaonline.org
website. The website, powered by OcuSource's subsidiary service LetsGoExpo online conferencing, brings recordings generated at the live conference to end
users unable to attend the live event held in Orlando. The site has audio
recordings, samplings of streamed video, documents and more.
List of archived presentations:
* A "Continuum of Learning" for Children Using AAC Systems
* AAC Intervention with Children and Adolescents: Getting Results!
* AAC Interventions for Communication Partners: Cross Cultural Applications
* Accessible E-Learning Demonstrations Using IMS Accessibility
* Accessible Information Technology in Education: An Awareness Video
* Accessible Multimedia in E-books
* AGE Appropriate Services for Adolescent and Adult Communicators with
Severe- Profound Disabilities
* AT and UDL: Teaming Up to Meet the Needs of All Learners
* AT Consideration in the IEP: To Be or Not to Be
* AT Outcome Data Collection Tools--Platform Independent and Web-Based
* Avoiding the Pitfalls, Brick Walls, and Trees of Assistive Technology
* Blogging the Accessible Way
* Building Effective Campus-Based Teams with the ATSTAR Curriculum
* Building Interactive Classrooms Through Environmental Engineering and AAC
* Closing the Circuit: Building Accessible Modules from the Ground Up
* Developing a Universally Designed Curriculum: One Unit at a Time
* DISTANCE LEARNING: POLICIES AND PRACTICES THAT PROMOTE ACCESSIBLE DESIGN
* Expanding the Benefits of Cooperative Buying: Sharing What We've Learned
* Finding Their Bliss: Discovering Ways to Increase Active Participation
* Getting Started with School-based Data Collection on AT Strategies and
* Guidelines for Submitting Manuscripts to Assistive Technology Outcomes and
* Implementing AAC in Acute Care Settings Beginning in Intensive Care
* Increasing Mean Length of Utterances on AAC: An Action Research Project
* Inside the Trainer's Studio
* Instructional Strategies for Using Video Magnifiers
* Integrating AAC Into Leisure and Learning
* Interpretype for Deaf and Deaf-Blind Communication
* Let's Play! Selecting Toys with Universal Design Features
* Low Tech Adaptations Across the Curriculum
* Mastering Microsoft Word
* Moving Students Forward
* Note Taking Strategies Using Technology for Students Who Are Visually
* Organizing my Space
* Partner-Assisted Communication Strategies for Children Who Face Multiple
* QIATConversations: 2006 Update
* Sorting through Symbol to Text Systems
* STFLS Meets Core Vocabulary for AAC Users: Supporting Language and
Literacy Through Start-to-Finish
* Supported Readings: Understanding Symbol Supports
* Switching to Talk - Not Just Talking Switches
* Tactual Literacy for Students with Severe Cognitive Challenges
* Teacher Use of Kidspiration with Elementary Students: Impact of Teacher
* Technology in the Preschool Setting: The Impact of CollaborativeTraining
* The Assistive Technology Wheel for Young Children
* The C.O.A.S.T.: A Framework to Facilitate Assistive Technology and
* The Economics of Developing Assistive Technology: A Hypothetical Case
* The True Power of Teaching with Technology
* The User Experience: Accessibility and Usability in the Online Environment
* Thinking Beyond AT in the Classroom Phase 2 of ILT Project
* Using Assistive Technology to Increase Undergraduate Student Engagement
* Using Technology to Enhance Literacy and Language Skills
* Using Written Assistive Technology Implementation Plans
* Video in the Classroom on a Shoestring Budget
* Visual Considerations for Individuals with Complex Communication Needs
Greetings. Here's another in the series on the Dallas area, this time on
music events that will be happening during the NFB convention. Enjoy.
Music Events Between July 1 and July 7:
Escapade 2009 -
Kerry Daniel & Nitebeat
Balcony Club -
Palm Beach Club -
80's Retro Music
Club Clearview -
Cool Down Sundays
Palm Beach Club -
Balcony Club -
Balcony Club -
Southern Strums: Texas Edition
Hilton Anatole, Room To Bbe Announced (location will be in convention
Betwixt & Between -
Electric Campfire Acoustic...
Sons of Hermann Hall -
Merengue, Bachata, Salsa a...
Escapade 2009 -
Most popular bars in Dallas, according to AOL City Guide:
1. 8.0 Restaurant & Bar
3. Cowboys Red River
4. Monica's Aca y Alla
5. Venice Beach Teen Club
6. Gypsy Tea Room
8. The Capital Grille
9. Lizard Lounge
10. NOKIA Theatre Grand Prairie
12. Cuba Libre Cafe
13. Fox and Hound English Pub & Grille
14. Velvet Hookah
15. Billy Bob's Texas
Friday, May 12
Greetings. When I first heard of posting via email, I never thought I'd get
into it as much as I am. I tried to set it up for my trip to Guatemala last
summer, but had some troubles. Now though, I'm able to post flawlessly,
aside from getting used to putting links in a different way in my messages.
Plus, there's the bonus of an automatic spell check from Outlook Express or
Outlook, instead of hoping a word is spelled correctly. I may even be able
to post like this at the national convention in a few weeks, but we'll have
to see. That would be cool though: to pound out a message and send it from
the hotel's Wi-Fi connection, while sitting and drinking my morning brew.
Anyway, posting like this beats trudging through forms mode and dealing with
the occasional, but sometimes frequent, stops and starts of JAWS. Give me
email posting any day!
Greetings. For those going to the National federation of the Blind's
upcoming national convention in Dallas, or anyone else interested in the DFW
transportation scene, here's the scoop. This message originally appeared on
the NABS-L email list, a list for the NFB's student division. I'll post
other related messages about the Dallas area and the convention, as I get
them. For more information on the upcoming convention, refer to the NFB website (www.nfb.org/convent/conven06.htm). Enjoy.
Method 1: DART Light Rail
DART - Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Our extensive network of DART Rail,
Trinity Railway Express (TRE) and bus services moves more than 200,000
passengers per day across our 700-square-mile service area. We serve DFW
Airport and Fort Worth via the TRE. The DART Rail System provides fast,
convenient service to work, shopping and entertainment destinations in
Dallas, Garland, Plano and Richardson. Plus, our TRE commuter line links
DART customers to DFW International Airport and downtown Fort Worth(only an
hour away by TRE). Free parking is available at most rail stations, and all
are served by DART bus routes specially timed to make transfers between
buses and trains quick and easy. Whether you're headed to a concert, a
Dallas Mavericks or a Dallas Stars showdown, ride the TRE to all Monday
through Saturday events at American Airlines Center. Or ride DART Rail to
West End Station and catch the free special events shuttle bus. The TRE gets
you to and from DFW International Airport for a fraction of the cost of taxi
fare or long-term parking. Just take it to CentrePort/DFW
Airport Station and transfer to the DFW Airport bus serving airline
Airport buses meet all trains, departing every 15 minutes Monday through
Saturday. There is no Sunday service. Airport bus service between the rail
station and the airport terminals is free.
DART operates local and express bus routes serving Addison, Carrollton,
Cockrell Hill, Dallas, Farmers Branch, Garland, Glenn Heights, Highland
Richardson, Rowlett, Plano and University Park.
To get going, call DART Customer Information at 214.979.1111. DART Day
Passes are your best transportation value. $2.50 for Local bus and rail,
which includes local bus, DART Rail and TRE service in Dallas County. $4.50
for Premium bus and rail, which includes express bus service and TRE service
to DFW Airport and Fort Worth. DART offers two basic, one-way fares: $1.25
for Local bus and rail service, $2.25 for Premium service, which includes
express bus service between downtown Dallas and free park & ride facilities
in Addison, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Glenn Heights, Irving, Plano and
TRE fares are in two zones: $1.25 one-way to all stops between downtown
Dallas and West Irving Station.
$2.25 between stations in Dallas County and Tarrant County.
Passes are sold in Ticket Vending Machines located at each rail station. Day
Passes can be purchased in advance by visiting the DART Store online (http://www.DARTStore.org).
Method 2: McKinney Ave Trolley
Visitors can ride McKinney Avenue's nostalgic trolley between Dallas' Arts
District and the McKinney Avenue Uptown neighborhood, enjoying the route's
offering of antique shops, restaurants and clubs. The restored, historic,
vintage streetcars are also available for private events. Runs 7 days a week
10:00 am - 10:00 pm.
Method 3: The M-Line
The historic M-Line Streetcar is FREE!
The M-Line Streetcar offers you a ride down McKinney Avenue, within walking
distance of the Dallas Museum of Art.
Whether you're eating lunch, shopping, browsing art or making a bus or rail
connection, the M-Line takes you there!
M-Line service operates 7 days a week every 15 minutes during peak and lunch
hours, every half hour off-peak hours and weekends between 7 a.m. and 10
p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Saturdays, and 12:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Method 4: Footmobile?
Here is the current NLS reply coming from Judy Dixon (Consumer Relations
Officer) in response to patron inquiries:
"Web-Braille has been removed from public access temporarily. We apologize
for the inconvenience that the removal of Web-Braille has caused. At this
time, it is not known how long Web-Braille will be unavailable but we have
every hope that the curtailment of the service will be short-lived. We are
making every effort to resume this service as soon as possible.
In the interim, all NLS-produced books and magazines are available in
hardcopy Braille from your Braille-lending library. If the status of
Web-Braille changes, information will be posted on the main Web-Braille
Thursday, May 11
If you haven't heard yet, you will all probably be hearing from your patrons
very soon about the shutdown of Web-Braille. Any patron logging into the
Web-Braille site as of 5-10-06 is receiving the following message:
NLS: That All May Read
Because of technical and security difficulties, Web-Braille will be
unavailable in the near future. NLS regrets the inconvenience and will
provide further information as soon as possible.
For more information contact:
Consumer Relations Officer
Tuesday, May 2
I'll write something more substantial when I have the time, :) Until then, ...