Braille Translator Technologies

NFBTRANS is an open source braille translator (BT). Due to a collaboration for the common good of blind people, NFBTRANS has been updated (the updated version is known as WinBT 2.0) to be compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit computers. The bad news is that NFBTRANS still does not translate HTML, Daisy, or Microsoft Word Files. (Check out the braille translator by John Boyer, part of the Braille Blaster project, that will translate HTML, XML, DAISY, or Word documents requiring little or no expertise.)

The NFBTRANS software is not officially supported by the National Federation of the Blind. Those interested may find support and stay informed by subscribing to the ProgrammingBlind listserve.

Click here for the Updated version.
Click here for the WinBT installer.
Click here for the zipped files.

New Computer Classes in August and September! Join Kathleen McCollum, a Business Systems Analyst from the UM Human Resources office, to learn how to search and apply for jobs at the University of Michigan.
Thursday, August 11, 7 to 9 pm, Traverwood
Tuesday, September 20, 3:30 - 5:30 pm, Malletts Creek

Research Database Training: Need to support an argument or write a paper for school? Need a primary source? Take advantage of the research databases available @ AADL. Learn how to gather information beyond your personal experiences and observations, and explore what other people have learned.
Tuesday, September 13, 3:30 - 5:30 pm, Downtown
Tuesday, September 20, 3:30 - 5:30 pm, Pittsfield

Word Review & Edit: Learn how to track changes, add comments, compare two versions of a document, and restrict editing.
Friday, September 29, 1 - 3 pm, Pittsfield

Health Information on the Web - Finding the Good Stuff: Presented by UM Taubman Health Sciences Library. Learn which websites are the best resources for your health. From the library's databases to free online resources like the National Library of Medicine's Medline Plus, you will learn how to access this information and keep your family safe and healthy.
Wednesday, September 28, 1 - 3 pm, Malletts Creek

Pick up the latest computer class schedule at any library location, review the schedule online, or call 734-327-4555 for more information. Registration is not required. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and the classrooms will open 15 minutes before the class begins. See you in class!

June/July Computer Classes

June July BrochureJune July Brochure The June/July computer class schedule is available! You can check out the schedule online or pick up the brochure at any library location.

We'll offer a new class for June and July named Etsy. What's Etsy? Etsy is a hip online marketplace for vintage goods, handmade crafts, and supplies. Etsy will be instructed by local artist Kate Kehoe, owner of Chicalookate.

All computer classes are open to the public. In other words, you don't have to have a Ann Arbor District Library card to attend a class. Registration is not required and classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

See you in class!

Cyber-Safety Series -- Identity Theft

image by Adam Smith, Flickr.comimage by Adam Smith,
It’s every Internet user’s worst fear – to wake up one day find that someone has found your personal information, drained your online account, and ruined your credit rating. Identity theft is surprisingly common –the FTC estimates that up to 9 million Americans may be victims of identity theft each year. You don't have to be one of them!

Here are some simple ways to prevent identity theft:

1. Practice social network safety. – You may be sharing more personal data than you know. Check out this blog post for more information.

2. Be a skeptic. – When in doubt, it’s better to play it safe. This Lifehacker article provides some excellent suggestions for avoiding the most prevalent online scams.
For more on scams, take a look at There’s a Sucker Born Every Minute, which explains many online and offline cons, along with steps to protect yourself.

3. Make security a habit. – Safe Internet practices should be a part of everything you do online. This article provides some great suggestions for securing your online life from all angles.
USA Today’s book, Stopping Identity theft: 10 Easy Steps to Security, has more tips on everyday security practices.

4. Destroy! Destroy! – Make sure you know the right way to get rid of old credit cards and sensitive paperwork.

If identity theft strikes – you have resources! Take a look at The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recovering From Identity Theft and Identity Theft For Dummies for suggestions on getting your life back.

For more information on identity theft and your options, check out The Federal Trade Commission’s identity theft website, with more information and resources on identity theft prevention and response.

Cyber-Safety Series -- Big Brother is Watching You

image by furryscaly, Flickr.comimage by furryscaly,
Do you shop online? Send e-mails? Participate in social networks? Then, like it or not, you have accumulated a substantial digital footprint. Controlling this footprint is a good idea, whether you’re worried about employers reading your disparaging remarks, salesmen finding your phone number or Big Brother tracking your un-American activities. Here are some resources to help you learn more about online privacy:

Get to know the issues:
Here's a roundtable on about the recently-introduced Do Not Track bill, that would prevent businesses from collecting browsing data automatically from people who visit their sites.
You can also read Margaret Jasper’s book Privacy and the Internet: Your Expectations and Rights Under the Law, which includes a directory of consumer protection agencies, the real text of relevant acts, and suggestions for improving your online privacy.

Investigate your digital footprint:
Take a look at this series of articles from, with techniques for finding – and manipulating – your online presence that go waaaay beyond Googling yourself.
And, to find out how your online persona may actually be damaging your life, read Virtually You by Elias Aboujaoude.

Privacy is holistic:
Online privacy, like love, is a many-splendored thing. No single magic bullet is going to perfectly cover you online behind. Look at this Lifehacker article to get ideas for diverse ways you can protect your information.

After you learn all about online privacy, you may feel like getting a new identity and vanishing off the face of the Earth. No worries! The book How To Disappear – by a man who was an investigator hired to find people who really don’t want to be found – will lead you, step by step, through the process of creating a brand new identity. Read this great summary online for the Cliff’s Notes version. (Note: Please return all library materials before burning your ID and moving to Fiji.)

Affordable Office Documents

Office LiveOffice Live Do you need to create professional office documents but your budget doesn't allow for expensive software programs? If you have a computer that is connected to the internet join Windows Live to create, edit, and store up to 25 GB of office documents. Other options? Sign up with Google and attend a computer class on how to use Google Documents or download OpenOffice from

Man Vs. Machine

For the first-time ever, Jeopardy! Champions will be challenging a machine. Next week, renowned Jeopardy! Champions Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter will take on “Watson”, an IBM computing system. Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, is very unique. Designed by a team of specialists, Watson will have the ability to analyze “subtle meaning, irony, riddles and other complexities in which humans excel and computers traditionally do not.” All winnings from the game will be donated to charity.

Journalist Stephen Baker has written about this project as it developed in the new book, Final Jeopardy: Man vs. Machine and the Quest to Know Everything. Learn how Watson works, and what it took to develop the project with Jeopardy!. And be sure to watch the competition next week, taking place February 14, 15 & 16. For more information, you can also visit

Cyber-Safety Series -- Parenting in the Digital Age

by pescatello, Flickr.comby pescatello,

With the rapid evolution of technology over the past few years, children are growing up in an incredibly new and unique environment. In fact, a whole new term has been coined for today’s youth – “digital natives.” For digital natives, born after the development of digital technology, the fantastic gizmos and gadgets of the modern age are seamlessly integrated into everyday life, altering learning and social interaction. Of course, for parents who are not digital natives, the virtual world where their children live may seem like a lawless frontier, inscrutable to outsiders. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help digital immigrants to be involved in their children’s online lives:

Background on digital natives: Born Digital by John Palfrey.

Understanding your digital kids:
What in the World Are Your Kids Doing Online?
Totally Wired: What Our Teens and Tweens are Really Doing Online
E-Parenting: Keeping Up With your Tech-Savvy Kids

Cyber-safety issues and kids:
Cyber-Safe Kids, Cyber-Savvy Teens
Generation MySpace: Helping Your Teen Survive Online Adolescence
MySpace, My Kids – a Christian writer offers guidance to parents about MySpace.

And, for kids themselves:
A Smart Girl’s Guide to the Internet

For more information, here’s a Frontline documentary/workshop on digital parenting that you can watch at home.

Winter Break Computer Classes

Why wait until the New Year to take a computer class when you can get started right now? The following classes are scheduled during the last week of December.

Digital Camera 101 - Do you find your digital camera to be a little confusing? Are there buttons you avoid because you aren't sure what they do? Do you want to feel more confident about using the camera menu? Come to the Digital Camera class and we'll help you locate the menu, understand some of the camera and photo settings, turn on and off the flash, and more camera basics. Bring your camera!
Wednesday December 29, 2010: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch

Microsoft Word Insert - Find out why using a Page Break to move the blinking cursor to the top of the next page is a good idea. Explore inserting Columns, Tables, Footnotes, Indexes, and Symbols.
Wednesday December 29, 2010: 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm -- Malletts Creek Branch

Microsoft Word Drawing - You'll want to sit and play with the Microsoft Word program all day long after you take this class. Learn how to insert objects (Shapes, Squares, Circles, Charts, WordArt, Diagrams, Clip Art and more) into a Microsoft Word document and format the object color and border. Once you're comfortable inserting objects you'll learn how to wrap text around objects, layer the objects behind the text, and more.
Thursday December 30, 2010: 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm -- Traverwood Branch

Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and registration is not required. Classrooms will open 15 minutes before the start of class.

Microsoft Office 2010

What is Microsoft Office? Microsoft Office is a group of programs designed to help you accomplish typical office tasks.

These are just a few of the Office programs:
Microsoft Word - Create documents such as letters and resumes.
Microsoft Excel - Create spreadsheets.
Microsoft PowerPoint - Create slide show presentations.
Microsoft Publisher - Create publications such as newsletters and greeting cards.
Microsoft Access - Create a database.

Want to learn how to use Microsoft Office 2010? Check out one of these books at the library:
Microsoft Office 2010 For Windows
Easy Microsoft Office 2010
Office 2010: The Missing Manual

Click here for a complete list of Microsoft Office 2010 books available at the Ann Arbor District Library.

Click here to go to the Microsoft Office website for an online tutorial.

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