Monthly Archives: April 2014

Spring Cleaning Solutions


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

Living my life from a wheelchair, my vantage point is often that of bellies and butts. I think I get it an habit of keeping my head and neck at that level and sometimes forget to look up. Thank goodness for my cat, Lucky, who in a moment of naughtiness happened to be terrifying moths that had attached themselves to our screen door. Lucky’s astonishing vertically leap drew my attention to the top of the screen door… that was absolutely covered in dust! I grabbed a rag with water and dish-soap and wiped down what I could, but I could only reach about 3/4 of the way up.  Googling: “how to clean screen doors”, just told me to remove the screen completely.   Ha!  Fat chance of that happening!

If only there we some sort of reaching tool.  Some determined research helped me Two poles of different lengths shown with a textured roller attachmentdiscover there was! The Long Reach Window Screen Cleaning KIt comes with either a 12 foot or 5 foot poll and a roller attachment that is textured to work wet or dry to remove dust from screens.

Assistive technology (AT) is for life and all that it entails.  While spring cleaning may not be one of those parts of life we particularly enjoy, AT is available to help make the job easier.  To learn more about tools to help with spring cleaning, join us on March 24, 1:30-3:00 ET for our webinar on the topic.  To register, email [email protected].


“Looking for” Used AT for People who are Blind or have Low Vision


By MATP Staff Member M. Catherine McAdam

Did you know that MATP sponsors the ATXchange web site to post and find used AT If not, I encourage you to check it out!

However, I’ve noticed that sometimes when AT is very specifically for blind or lobraille notetakerw vision users that it takes a little more work to find items. Many of these devices, like Braille note takers for example, are quite expensive when new. So, here are a couple more ideas for finding used devices!

First, check with manufacturers to see if they offer refurbished items such as braille note takers or closed circuit tv’s. Dealers may also have some information on used or discounted older items. You also could find a library for the blind, dealer show room or vision fair to browse multiple items. The Visually impaired information center lists many options.

MATP is in the process of updating our Assistive Technology Directory, which can help you locate vendors in Michigan. You might also consider attending this vision fair coming up May 14th in Ann Arbor MI.

And here are some more specific places to check:

  • Blind Bargains: Classifieds has ads from folks selling used items, and they also note deals on many computer accessories
  • The Matilda Ziegler Magazine offers an email posting of ads, under Special Notices and Pen Pals
    • Toll Free: 877-424-5481
    • Website:
    • Email:
  • And every week the Top Tech Tidbits newsletter posts a used or refurbished item of note not to mention just great tips for us techie folks!

Have you found great deals on used equipment? Where did you find it? Thanks for sharing!


Getting an AT Lift from IFTTT


By MATP Staff Member Laura Hall

The IFTTT Logo...Red Blue and Black block letters "IFTTT"

Curiosity about it’s name alone is what led me to check out IFTTT (pronounced like ‘gift’ without the letter G). IFTTT is short for If This Then That, and it is a free service on the web and for Apple devices (in beta for Android) that enables users to connect different web applications together to automate tasks.  The service works with over 90 different applications called channels.

It uses instructions called recipes that fit the statement ‘If This Then That.  The “this” part of the recipe is called the trigger and the “that” part of the recipe is called the action.  A few examples of my recipes to clarify:                                           

  • If I take an IOS photo…then upload to a private folder in Flickr
  • If I leave a location (using location service on iPhone)….then send a text to my partner.
  • If I receive an email with an attachment, then download a copy of the attachment into Google Drive
  • At 7:00am every day…. send me a text that says, “Good Morning, Beautiful.  Time to get up!”

Still Confused?  Check out this tutorial.  Creating recipes may sound difficult by you can browse thousands of recipes already created by other users and activate them by simply clicking the “use” button.Screenshot of a recipe, stating "Rain Tomorrow? Get IOS notification"

IFTTT has a wide variety of AT uses including reminders, organization, dressing for weather conditions, emergency alerts and environmental control.   It works with Phillips Hue light bulbs and the WeMo home automation system to enable you to turn on/off lights and other household devices remotely.

Have you tried IFTTT?  In what ways would you automate your life?