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                                        Things to Do

All links will open in a new browser window, so that when you close that window you will always
return to this page.

Having problems with Closed Captioning with Digital TV?
Now there's interpreter help on VP! Point here
You can also participate in a survey with your DTV captioning experiences with the FCC.

Keep Abreast of the fast moving world of HDTV with HDTV Magazine
The 2009 deadline will not affect the vast majority of Americans who already subscribe to
cable or satellite TV. But households relying on an antenna to receive "over-the-air" analog
broadcasts must acquire a digital tuner to continue receiving TV shows.

As Seen on TV:               

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is responsible for
administering the Converter Box Coupon Program (Coupon Program).

Do You Still Have Digital TV Questions?
This website has answers.

My favorite Website:
Giveaway of the Day

Websites of the Month


This month is gardening related...canning or preserving the fresh bounty from the garden. I was
over at Lowes (hardware) in Burlington (NC) and next to the magazine and book racks was the
freestanding display of the Ball company's canning products. Well, Di and I do a lot of canning this
time of the year and this was the first time I've seen Balls products prominently displayed so....
I had to check everything out and found the url

Raw Video: HD video of gulf spill released
Yeah, really sad about the gulf oil spill, another way of looking at this is history in the making. You've
seen videos of the oil spewing out of the damaged underwater pipe, although grainy. There's a high
def video available. Yeah, put up with the advert for a moment then the video shows the leak in
clear fashion...dramatic, huh?

Fun Facts About Coffee
I was doing a little research about coffee grinds...actually, what to do with used coffee grinds and
came across this page, Fun Facts About Coffee. Did you know: that the athletes playing in the cannot
drink more than 5 cups of coffee? Both the American Revolution and the infamous French Revolution were born in coffee houses? We say coffee beans although they are really berries? Expresso is not a
word? The three biggest coffee drinkers in the world are the Americans, the French and the Germans?
Read more here:

N.C. Natural Wonders Stretch from the Mountains to the Coast
Ahh! My favorite vacation designation...the Blue Ridge Parkway @ #1, Grandfather Mountain @ #3
and the Great Smoky Mountains @ #4. Camping many times...I can't count...motels...only twice and
that's not counting any Morganton stayovers. Land for Tomorrow was featured in a local TV station,
WRAL, newscast segment and loyal visitors know, I love the mountains, so I was overjoyed when the
Blue Ridge Parkway was picked as the number one vacation designation.

A Visual Photographic History of the North Carolina School for the Deaf
Historical exhibits about NCSD is expanding...we have the NCSD Museum and their website,
The Bugler, beginning with the Spring 2010 issue, is featuring an ongoing series of articles about
all the Deaf schools in North Carolina, and of course this website featuring various segments
throughout the website about the history of the Morganton school. This new facebook group page is
administered by the well known Jimmy Autrey featuring pictures seen AND unseen previously. If you
are a member of fb then there's no problem in viewing the page. If you are not a member, join up
and see the new avenue of the history of the Deaf schools in North Carolina.

Straw Bale Gardening
As most of you visitors know, I'm a backyard gardener and I'm always searching for shortcuts anyway
I can. I found a fantastic shortcut but MamaPat says this was old news to her. First paragraph of this
site explains it perfectly: Straw Bale Gardening is simply a different type of container gardening. The
main difference is that the container is the straw bale itself and is held together with two or three
strings. Once the straw inside the bale begins to decay the straw becomes "conditioned" compost
that creates an extraordinary plant rooting environment.
Sounds good to me!

My apologies for not providing neato websites for the past three months. Maintaining pages for our
40th Anniversary has been a daunting without further ado:
Give Away of the Day
I was looking for a couple of programming resources, freebies as a matter of fact, and found this
site, downloaded a couple of files and found out the hard way that you had to install AND register
these freebies on the same day they are free. If you don't, then you've lost this opportunity. Anyway,
I downloaded a couple of these freebies and (registered on the same day) found that these were
really, so far, good quality software. You can bookmark and check them out daily or sign up and they
will e-mail you daily on their freebies. You know about Webshots Picture of the Day, well, this is
almost the same: Software of the Day. PS: Don't wait till midnight to see what the next day's freebie
is about...their servers are located somewhere in the Pacific Standard Time zone so...midnight their
time is 3am North Carolina time...zzzz

No WOM this month.

January 2010
No WOM this month.

From January 2009
As promised, here is my CSDVRS review:
Well, this one is not a website of the month but a disappointment and a grief about the company
behind the website. I've put off getting VRS because I just didn't want a another TV waiting to be
used. The CSDVRS folks at the ASL Expo in Greensboro, NC back in September 6, 2008 convinced me
to sign up for Z30 (Z340) on sale for $80. Although it has a small screen, I really liked this unit
because of its laptop like portability. It would serve its purpose very well as I could take it with me
on my road trips as well as being able to connect this unit in any room in my house as well as inside
my workshop separate from my house. Really, a perfect and ideal VRS unit for me.

OK, so weeks go e-mail, mail, or any communications from CSDVRS. I go to NCSD's
Homecoming and eureka! CSDVRS has a booth! I asked about getting Z340. Their representative said
I will get e-mail in three weeks. So again, I waited and waited. No e-mail, nothing, nothing, and
more nothings. So, on January 6, I contacted them through their website and basically I wrote: "It is
now 2 and half months OR 4 months since September 2008! WOW. I waited and waited. No e-mail,
nothing, nothing, and more nothings".

And now, finally, I received a response, albeit a manufactured know...the same
response sent to anyone who's asking. Here's what they said: "We are completing the final stages of
testing the new Z phones. The Z-340 has started being shipped to customers, and there is still no
release date of the Z-150. This has been due to an overwhelmingly high volume of requests we have
received for the Videophone. CSDVRS will be contacting you once the Z becomes available, and the
current units we have will be assigned on a first come, first serve basis."

Oh, wow, whoopie doo! Geez, I didn't ask about the Z-150. Here was my response:
Same old, same old.
That's the same story the rep said at the NCSD Homecoming on Oct. 18, 2008.
So in effect, nothing new, nothing changed.

Lester Latkowski

So the moral to any company offering any product: Don't offer products until it has come off the
assembly and testing lines. DUH! = MH-47 Chinook helicopter
John forwarded this military clip and...well...I'll let his e-mail do the describing:
Gutsy move...This is some chopper pilot...a rarely seen perspective: a video of a U.S. Navy SEAL
extraction was filmed from inside an MH-47 Chinook helicopter. The pilot has lowered the ramp,
dipped the tail end into the water to partially flood the compartment (a maneuver that requires quite
precise flying) and awaits the Navy SEALs to board in their F470 Zodiac.
The rest of the website is outstanding...has historical items never before released to the public or
declassified after so many years. Needless to say, I spent several hours on it.

If you have a favorite website, please e-mail them to  with the
subject "Website of the Month" and we'll check it out and post them here. Please no commercial sites
unless it's really interesting.

Previous Websites of the Month can be found here.

Check back often!
This page is a work in progress, which means, the internet is always changing and expanding,
therefore, this page may have links added, updated and/or deleted. I am hoping that this page will
grow with input from you so that you can use this page as a reference.

I used to say that I'm surfing on the net with two PCs simultaneously, but now I have modified my
setups so that I am using two monitors on each of my workhorse computers. One computer is used
for webmastering, graphics, surfing, researching, e-mailing, etc and the other is for audio work, such
as archiving audio tapes, recording music files, archiving data files, burning CDs/DVDs, recovering lost
data off of other people's dead hard drives as well as helping me to repair other folks dead PCs.

So I'm going to take advantage of this page and help ya'll be savvy with your own PCs and internet
surfing. Oh, by the way, don't let me do all the work, send me your favorite websites!

Browser Wars
Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera, Safari, SlimBrowser
I will not go into deep details here but will briefly talk about each and will start in alphabetical order.

First up Mozilla Firefox, a direct competitor to MS's IE (Microsoft's Internet Explorer), Firefox is an
open source browser with an extensive plug-ins and extensions to make your cruising the internet a
breeze. Loads up pretty quick and as with other browsers, it will inform you when an update is
available. This is my main browser and I haven't looked at all of the plug-ins and extensions, yet.

Google Chrome is the newest entry in the browser wars. It's light weight, quick to load, fast, and if
you do a search, it informs you of the contents in your PC that you might be looking for. I don't have
it installed on any of my PCs because of unverified rumors that it sends back data to Google. I
really like this browser so I'm planning to do an extensive research to see if I can overcome my
apprehension on using this browser. 

Internet Explorer...
comes with Windows and gives the other browsers an unfair advantage. Used to
be that you could not uninstall it, now you can. It's a heavy browser, takes a while to load up and MS
is slow to install innovations created by it's competitors. If you were using Firefox, you would
remember that it took MS a good while to feature tabbed browsing. There are extensions and plug-
ins offered for IE but they're not easy to find.

Netscape used to be the only direct competitor to IE and was THE dominant web browser in terms of
usage share, although by 2002 its usage had almost disappeared. One of the reasons for this was
due to the popularity of Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser software and other web browsers,
and partly because the Netscape Corporation (later purchased by AOL) did not sustain Netscape
Navigator's technical innovation after the late 1990s. The business demise of Netscape was a central
premise of Microsoft's antitrust trial, wherein the Court ruled that Microsoft Corporation's bundling
of Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system was a monopolistic, and illegal business
practice. AOL's eventual purchase of the Netscape Corporation, guaranteed the death of the
Netscape browser as AOL canceled technical support in 2008. Downloading of archived versions of
the Netscape Navigator web browser family are available. Moreover, AOL maintains the Netscape
website as an Internet portal. Netscape source code was the base for Mozilla Firefox. Netscape used
to be the only web browser I used.

Opera started out as trailware, in 1994, and had to be purchased after the trial period ended.
Version 5 released in 2000 ended this requirement and became ad sponsored,  displaying
advertisements to users who had not paid for it. Later versions of Opera gave the user the choice of
seeing banner ads or targeted text advertisements from Google. With version 8.5, released in 2005,
the advertisements were removed entirely and primary financial support for the browser came
through revenue from Google which is by contract Opera's default search engine. I've used Opera for
about 6 weeks now and it's impressive. I enjoy their so called dial-up page which features multiple
homepages when you first startup the browser. It's also a fast browser, not heavy loaded like IE.

Slinmbrowser is really a stripped down version of Internet Explorer with tabs, very light weight,
loads up quickly and features quite a few extras as with the other browsers; built-in popup killer,
skinned window frame, form filler, site group, quick-search, auto login, hidden sites, built-in
commands and scripting, online translation, script error suppression, and blacklist/whitelist

Browser War Summary - Here's my take:
Firefox is my long running favorite...I've added several features for my use, Adblock Plus,
Autopager; used mainly on Google's search pages...lets me continue on down the page and not
having to click to Googles next page, Download helper has an icon to display ongoing downloads,
Personas, (browser skins/themes), Mminimap, Plaincopy (which I use during my webmastering
duties...this lets me copy text in plain format and not the format from a webpage), ReminderFox;
lets me put in reminders to display when needed and my favorite, Foxsaver, it's really a screensaver
but it runs in the browser's's like a mini-webshots.

Internet Explorer - Although IE is now loosing it's dominance as Firefox is now emerging as the most
popular browser, webmasters test their website work with IE first to double check their work, before testing with the other browsers. Firefox at times has problems displaying layouts of web pages when
comparing with IE. Unfortunately, some web editors rely on IE when using a shortcut transferring hyperlinks.

Opera is my new favorite browser next to Firefox.

Slimbrowser is used because it's faster than IE and I use it on my Notebook when checking my
e-mails on the road.

How, where do I use these browsers on my workhorse PC? I have 3 monitors attached to my PC,
The left monitor I switch between 3 browsers, Firefox for web surfing, Slimbrowser for e-mails and
IE for webmastering work. The middle monitor is used mainly for webmastering, text editing as
well as some graphic rendering. And the third or right monitor is where all my webeditors are used
and Opera when not web editing. When my concentration is focused on the middle and/or right
monitors, Foxsaver kicks in on the left monitor and provides a pleasing distraction when I need a
mini-break to rest my eyes a bit.

To download these and other browsers and some plug-ins you can go to cnet

Hurricane Katrina
has impacted just about everyone in the United States especially us Deafies.
We need to prepare ourselves for these dangers. Trudy Suggs offers suggestions to help you prepare
in the event disaster strikes in her Cultural Perspective article in To view these and other
articles you must register, free, on

TDI (Telecommunication for the Deaf, Inc.) has appointed Trudy Suggs as National Public Relations
Specialist for Community Emergency Preparedness Information Network Project which is funded by
the Department of Homeland Security and coordinated by TDI. (Click here to go to the CEPIN
website). Trudy wanted to share the first issue concerning emergency kits. Please click here to see
News and Updates as well as to download the "Are You Ready" newsletter in PDF format.

Note to ALL VRS Users:
On January 26, 2005, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released public documents
that make clear that video relay providers may no longer use certain marketing and call handling
practices to try to get your business. Click here, to find out what is now prohibited...

ASL Sites:
There are many web sites devoted to the ASL as a language; here are a few of them:

Take me to the ASL Browser
This is an excellent site to learn ASL. Click on the link "Take me to the ASL Browser". This page has
in alphabetical order a list of words which you click on and it shows a video clip of how to sign that
word. Needless to say, the page also has video clips on signing the alphabet.

The FAED Eagle website has been shutdown and while researching for it's new location, I found
this site. It has tons and tons of ASL and Deaf links.
Grab a cup of coffee and do click on
(BTW, FAED's site was shutdown on, 08/01/03).

This is another page with links to ASL sites:

The Talking Hands ASL website is kinda nifty. The homepage has a sign langauge toolbar that
you can download. Their product page has a bumper stickers promoting ASL and Deaf Pride, as
well as cards and a coffee cup promoting ASL. At the bottom of their pages are links to download
ASL wallpapers and more Deaf links.

Deaf Websites:
There are about 185+ Deaf websites out there. Some are now down, some are
in the process of re-work, and some now charge a fee. What I've done here
is listed the most informative ones, in no specific order:

NCSD Museum a comprehensive listing of Deaf websites.

National Theatre of the Deaf:

The USA Deaf Sports Federation
(USADSF) Website:

Deaf Life Magazine:

Everything You Wanted to Know About Deafness - DEAF-INFO Web Site. ...
What will you do? The Deaf Employee. ... Home to a mailing list about deafness,
as well as information and links to other deaf resources:

Extensive directory to just about every aspect of deaf culture, including education,

An internet shopping mall for the Deaf!

Promoting Equal Access in Telecommunications and Media for People Who are Deaf,
Late-Deafened, Hard-of-Hearing, an national organization engaging in
telecommunications advocacy for deaf and hard of hearing people:

Welcome to DeafZONE:

Closed Captioning Faq
, an extensive information site about closed captioning
on television, HDTV and the internet. As of January 2008 "FAQ" page has been converted to a website

To quell the rumors: Captioning Is NOT Going Away: - this page is not available on this site as of
June 2004.
Webmaster's Note: This was originally posted in August 2002 and was featured as a Website of the
Month selection for February 2004.

For a list of Schools for the Deaf in the USA
Thanks to: Berry & Martha Hamrick

AOL's Hometown
pages has over 200 individuals/groups with their own web pages relating to
various areas of Deaf cultures ranging from personal pages, various Deaf clubs, services for the
Deaf, etc. You'll have to make time to visit these pages. There's a lot of stuff out there. Type in
deaf in the search & explore box in this page:

Here's two that I found interesting:

Lanny's Brown Eagle Page: Bottom of this page has additional
links to deaf sites:

National Association of the Deaf's website

Berry has found a search engine with a tremendous wealth of Deaf related websites:

Of course, just keying in will take you to the owners of the Deaf Life publication
site giving you a choice to go to 6 other websites.

And is "just getting back online".

Deaf Expo is a show where venders and companies selling equipment and items for the Deaf get
together inside a large building so Deafies can see what's for sale that would enhance their everyday
living. These shows are located in California and due to organizational restructuring there were no
shows produced in 2005 and no shows are planned for 2006. This group is not associated with The
DeafNation Expo mention in the next paragraph below.
Click on for further updates.

The DeafNation Expo website marvels the community with:
-  Video Clip News/Sports coverage are done in Sign Language
-  Countless Special Coverage at events that are now history
-  Hosting the DeafNation Expo at 12 different cities
-  Sponsors are clearly visible on the web
-  And even better, the audience has been paying attention to every step they make…
And don't forget the DeafNation Expo in Greensboro on February 23rd.

Video Relay
Convenient, reliable internet & video relay service 24 hrs a day, 365 days a year through Sprint at: &

Free online text and video relay calls are just a click away.
Simply go to and start calling.

2003 Bad Year for Deaf Football Teams
The 2003 football season seems to be bad one for the football teams at Gallaudet University and at
some residential schools for the deaf.
Kentucky School for the Deaf has dropped this sport. 
Indiana School for the Deaf played one game and suspended this sport for the remainder of the
Eastern North Carolina School for the Deaf , also dropped due to not enough players, shut it down for
the season.
Also Phoenix Day School for the Deaf has made  it a two-game season, forfeiting the rest of their
scheduled games.. 
What about Gallaudet University? Every year  turnout 50-55 players had signed up. This season only
have 40 players to play....
Hope 2004 season will be much better>>?????????????
Sun, 30 Nov 2003 19:47:29 EST

Dsl Reports tests and compares your internet connection. Cable modem users, please be aware
that your speeds may fluctuate wildly depending on where you live and time of day during test:

Do your part in stopping e-rumors by visiting these sites:

This is a very interesting reading about e-mail viruses that I want to share:

PC Tips:
For an excellent source of computing and internet tips, check out:
Check out free and free to try software to download:

Ye Ode Webmaster's Own PC Tech Files
I can brag big time, only because I can. I have a PC tips website because lots of folks asks me about
how to do this and how to do that, what's the best way to do this and what's the best way to do that.
So, after accumulating a large number of e-mails over the past 10 odd years advising these folks how
to maintain their computers, I decided to funnel all my tips to this website. It's still being updated every
now and then when I'm not working on NCSD1970, but still, it offers a bunch of tips to enjoy your PC
without any outlay of your hard earned $$$$. How kewl is that?
Got chat? AIM? MSN? Yahoo's? How about IRC? ICQ? Fills up your desktop, doesn't it? Well,
roll your own. Roll it all together into one chat messenger and save your PC's resources at the
same time. Get Trillian instant messenger. Once you have it set up, all your instant messengers
are online at once and controlled by one program with the same if not more features than your
old chat messengers. Well, don't let me explain the details, hop on over to and check it out! Kewl, eh?  Click on the link and then click on
Downloads. Then click on Download Trillian Basic and start saving your desktop resources.

And for Mac OS X, take look at Fire here:
The best thing - both programs are free!

Tech Tip 1:
Do you want to be alerted of any type of emergencies such as Severe Weather Warnings,
Homeland Security threat level upgrades or downgrades, natural disasters, health alerts, etc.? Tired
of the special reports coming on TV and having to get someone hearing to tell you what is going on?
Worry no more. Go to and sign up for email alerts to be sent to
your email or your wireless device to be alerted 24/7! This service is free.

Tech Tip 2:
Ever get frustrated that your computer beeps to get your attention? Both Windows XP and Mac
OS X are deaf friendly. They know how to get your attention if you are unable to hear the system
beeps, but you need to turn this feature on first. To enable this under Windows XP, go to Start,
then Control Panel, then Accessibility Options. Click on the Sound tab, then make sure the box
next to "Use SoundSentry" is checked.

You can select the type of visual warning you want in the drop box on the next line. When you are
done, click on the "Apply" button on the bottom of the window.

For Mac OS X, you will need to open System Preferences, then click on Universal Access. After
clicking on the  Hearing tab, make sure the box next to "Flash the screen whenever an alert sound
occurs" is checked. You can test it using the button on the next line, "Flash Screen".
Ryan Layton - DeafTECH Editor:

Webmaster's Note: The above Tech Tips are but two of the many Tech Tips that Mr. Layton
contributes to the DEAFDIGEST weekly newsletters. He has his own website featuring his reviews
of wireless technology for the Deaf.

I am in the process of splitting this page in two, but it will be an ongoing process, the other half
is here.

Websites of the Month Archives
2009's Websites of the Month can be viewed
2008's Websites of the Month can be viewed
2007's Websites of the Month can be viewed
2006's Websites of the Month can be viewed
2005's Websites of the Month can be viewed here.

2004's Websites of the Month can be viewed here.

Please report any dead links, your comments (hopefully good, but I will welcome and accept any
criticism, with the right to reprint your comments, elsewhere on this website) to make your webpage
the best class website on the web. Email to:

Links to other sites do not necessarily represent endorsement by NCSD Class of 1970 or Latkowski
Web Design. These pages look best when viewed on my computers over at my house.

Return to Previous Page

This page was last updated on 01/23/2012.


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