Announcements for the Week of June 15, 2015

Dear GDUI Members and Friends
The Deep in the Hearts of Guide Dogs, Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception Sponsorships are in for the GDUI Guide Dog Schools Appreciation Reception, and we are very grateful to everyone of you who honored your schools and your dogs by contributing to this event. If you will be at the ACB/GDUI convention, we hope you’ll be able to attend the reception to say hello to trainers from your schools who will be there – thanks to your sponsorship dollars – and to meet other grads and their guides as well. The event will be held in the Houston Ballroom #3, beginning at 7:15 p.m. on July 6, and continuing until 10:00 p.m.
One thing we can be pretty sure of is our guides will be on their best behavior with all of those trainers around! It will be fun to hang out with so many wonderful people and dogs, and we hope you will be able to be there.

If you can’t attend our convention and you helped to sponsor our appreciation event anyway, thank you so much! After convention, we will re-publish our keepsake booklet in accessible digital text online, so that everyone can read the many nice messages that were shared.

Convention News
Remember, registration for the ACB Conference and Convention, including GDUI convention events, remains open, online, until June 25.
Visit this link to register:
If you prefer, you can request a paper form or register by telephone by calling 800.866.3242.

The Sheraton Dallas is the home of the 2015 Conference and Convention.
General sessions and the Exhibit Hall will be in the Lone Star Ballroom on the seconds floor. The ACB Café and ACB Marketplace are also on the second floor, near the Lone Star Ballroom. Meeting space will be on the second, third and fourth floors. The Sheraton Dallas features three restaurants with various cuisines and pricing. There is a food court in the Avenue of the America Mall connected to the hotel by a skyway. Many other restaurants are conveniently located near the hotel. We can expect to see a list of restaurants and other conveniences on ACB’s information lists as we get closer to convention week.

Room rates are $89 plus tax per night (single, double, triple or quad). Make telephone reservations by calling 888.627.8191. Make sure you mention that you are with the ACB convention. You can also make reservations online at:

GDUI will host two hotel orientations to help you learn your way around the Sheraton in advance of most convention events. The first will occur on Sunday morning at 8:00 a.m., and the second will occur on Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. Several guide dog trainers will accompany us and provide orientation advice that will be particularly useful to those of us who use guide dogs. Both tours will leave from the GDUI Suite, and as soon as we have that room number (probably much closer to convention week), we will share it with you. Hotel orientations are free and a much appreciated GDUI tradition, for which we owe our guide dog trainers who assist a huge amount of gratitude.

Remember, an innovative and accessible way-finding system will also be available at this year’s ACB conference and convention. Thanks to a donation from MD Support and MD foundation there will be audible directional beacons at the Sheraton to assist convention attendees with locating meeting rooms, restrooms and elevators. Dan Roberts has provided the following information.

First, realize that the way-finding system is accessible only through I Devices at this time. Those include iPhone 4S or later and iPad 4 or later.

Second, it is important that you know your Apple Store ID and password in order to download the LowViz Guide. You may download it ahead of time if you wish, but remember, it will operate only in the convention environment. Here is where you can find the free download link, along with more information and step-by-step instructions for using the app:

Finally, with so many people expected to use this audio technology, MD Support highly recommends that you bring earbuds. The app can be quite a chatterbox as it provides directions and information, so let’s be kind to the ears of those around us.

Download the app free from iTunes:

Read what you need to know ahead of time:

Accessible World interviewed Dan Roberts on the TechTalk program on June 1. You can download an MP3 copy of that interview here:

To acquaint yourself with all the latest GDUI convention-related news and information, be sure to visit our web site here: While you’re there, take a chance (or two or three) on winning Dallas, our beautiful plush black labbie in harness, who’s the mascot of this year’s convention, and who (btw) wants to come home with you to spruce up your home! You can also participate in our summer drawing for $1,000 cash, as well as an assortment of prizes to appeal to a variety of interests and tastes. Tickets for the Dallas raffle and the GDUI fund-raising summer drawing are available on our 2015 Convention Information Page, or by calling our office manager, Jane Sheehan, at 866.799.8436. And – coming soon – you’ll find the catalog for our summer auction! The silent auction will run from July 5-8, you can bid by phone or by coming to the GDUI Suite, and there are so many appealing items, you’ll be hard pressed to curb your bidding appetite! (Not that we are recommending restraint!)

Help Researchers Identify Problems Computer Users Who Are Blind Can Encounter When Web Sites Are Updated Without Keeping Accessibility In Mind

Recently, members of the GDUI Convention Products Committee have been spending many hours researching and purchasing products to stock in the GDUI convention suite. We found a number of wonderful items, but I have to tell you, our progress was dramatically impeded when we discovered several web sites, previously tried and true and easily accessible, that have updated in ways that our screen readers simply can’t translate into spoken language. That is why I found the announcement about an online survey (below) particularly intriguing and appealing. I hope that many of you will answer the professors’
call. The survey shouldn’t take any longer than 15 or 20 minutes.

Dr. Brian Wentz, an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at Shippensburg University, and Dr. Jonathan Lazar, a Professor of Computer and Information Sciences at Towson University, are conducting a web-based survey with users who are blind to learn more about the impact that website, software, and mobile app updates can have on accessibility and use. The goal of this research is to compile data regarding the experiences and problems that blind users encounter that are related to new versions and updates of apps, software and websites.

The survey will be available at this link during June and July. We encourage all of you who are at least 18 years old to participate in this research project.

We will be back again next week with more news and information from GDUI. As always, thank you for your friendship and support.
Penny Reeder, President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Will Burley, First Vice President
Guide Dog Users, Inc.
Call us, toll-free, at 866.799.8436
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For our members and friends who do not have access to e-mail (or prefer to listen to the pleasant sound of a human voice reading aloud), we also offer telephonic announcements every week. If you are aware of guide dog users who do not have computer access, please share this telephone number with them: 646.653.1900. Recorded announcements available at this number are updated each Tuesday.
We look forward to sharing announcements concerning our organization with all who are interested in GDUI.