All the news you choose

All the news you choose – web head report

Sharon Brown

Pick your interest and pique your interests! Explore issues beyond health and broaden your horizons–without spending money or straining your eyes. The news is everywhere on the Web, from newspapers to newsletters to archives that allow you to look up stories that ran years ago. Best of all, it’s usually free.

Getting the news online is heaven for folks like me who have fine motor coordination problems, making holding a large newspaper difficult. It also is wonderful for those of us who have difficulty reading the small type of a newspaper. Just set your browser to the type size you can read. Or have it read to you via one of those text-to-voice computer systems.

For international news in general, check out www.worldnews .com, the leading portal to a dizzying array of online news from around the world. The International Herald Tribune is available at www.iht.com. And the Net offers a unique way to get the local view of bitter controversies. For example, visit www.jpost.com for the Jerusalem Post and www.amin.org (click English) for the Arabic Media Internet Network.

You can find juicy tabloid gossip at the source as well. If you’re an “English royal watcher”, try www.mirror.co.uk. For behind the scenes movie news, the Hollywood Reporter is at hollywoodreporter .com, while pop music lowdown is reported daily by Billboard magazine on billboard.com.

Going somewhere on vacation? Preview some of your destination’s local publications for restaurant reviews and nightclub news. A quick trip to the Orlando Sentinel, www.orlandosentinel .com, before the family outing to Walt Disney World, or a peek at SF Gate, www .sfgate.com, in advance of that romantic San Francisco getaway will give you a better sense of what’s happening there and what to look for upon arrival.

It’s even possible to find newspapers from your old hometown. About 15 years ago I worked for a very small paper in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. I missed reading what was going on there. On a whim, I typed in the name of the paper in the search box at www.google.com and to my surprise, there it was.

If you want to follow a news story as it changes throughout the day, cnn.netscape .cnn.com/news offers a search engine and stories from the Associated Press, Reuters, and CNN, which are updated as information becomes available. News magazine sites, like Time, www.time.com, and Newsweek, www.newsweek.com, usually have more information online than is published in the magazine.

So pick a search engine and type in what you’re looking for. Or start with these grand old standards of American journalism:

The New York Times: www.nytimes.com

Chicago Sun-Times: www.suntimes.com

Christian Science Monitor: www .csmonitor.com

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: www.stl today.com

The Washington Post: www.washington post.com

No computer?

You can still have the news read to you, thanks to a marvelous nonprofit organization called Choice Magazine Listening. For 40 years, this service has been distributing audiotapes of current magazine articles to anyone in the U.S. who is unable to read due to physical limitations–at no cost to the user.

The American Foundation for the Blind selects and tapes the unabridged articles, and sends subscribers eight hours’ worth every two months. Selections include fiction and poetry as well as public affairs and news, from magazines including Foreign Affairs, Time, The Atlantic Monthly, Fortune, Granta, and The New Yorker–read by professional readers. Subscribers need the free Library of Congress special-speed four-track tape player. Choice will tell you how to get it. Call 888-724-6423 or e-mail them at: choicemag@aol.com.

About that talking computer

You already know talking computers aren’t a Star Wars fantasy. You may not know that you have one already. Or that software to make your computer read to you won’t cost the earth.

If your computer is a Mac, as far back as OS8.6 Macs have had text-to-speech capability built in. Along with a choice of voices. OS X boasts 26 voices, which include four for Mexican Spanish text-to-speech. You can download upgrades from www.apple.com/macos/ speech. But bear in mind, these are robot voices. The inflections and rhythms are not exactly normal and take some getting used to. If you’re a heavy listener, you’ll want to purchase a more euphonious program.

Screen reading programs for the PC are becoming better and less expensive all the time. They boast fanciful names like JAWS for Windows, GW Micro’s Window-Eyes, Dolphin, and outSPOKEN–and various degrees of sophistication.

For the best advice, go to Adaptive Computer Products at www.makoa.org/computers.htm or explore Abledata at www.abledata.com.

Sharon Brown has been catching sites in her “Web net” for more than a decade. Send interesting sites to her at: scrib4ms@ hotmail.com.

COPYRIGHT 2002 National Multiple Sclerosis Society

COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group