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|Volume 11, Issue 4: Fall 2003||
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Marvin Williams, AT Specialist, Kent County ATRC
Hello folks and welcome to the first installment of the AT Bargain Basement. As I find deals on assistive technology, I will pass them on to you. So, what is a deal, you ask? Well, I am going to try to find things for under $100. Now, as is normally the case, prices may rise or even fall by the time this column comes out. So, the prices that I am reporting are not guaranteed prices, but you still might want to check them out. I also invite all of you to share your bargain finds with me and I will report them for everyone to check out. And now. . . on to the bargains!
My first bargain is the AT&T 1719 Digital Answering System.
This answering machine is digital, so there is no tape to rewind
or erase. Unfortunately, that also means if you lose power for
more than 20 minutes, you will lose your messages. If that does
not bother you, then these other features will help to draw you
I was able to find this gem at Wal-Mart, and it is available for purchase on the Web site or in the store for $19.99. The really nice thing about it is the verbal announcement feature. This is great for folks who are visually impaired. Since most caller ID boxes have small print displays, it makes it difficult for some folks to use. This machine has a clear (but not very pretty) voice that announces the area code and phone number of the person calling. The volume can also be turned up so you are able to hear the number announcement from a different room. The unit will also announce the time and date of messages as well as the calling number.
Programming the answering machine is also easy because the menus are spoken with the same clear (yet not exciting) voice used for the other functions. You are talked through everything from setting the time to setting the toll saver rings. I have one of these machines and a caller ID cordless phone with the caller ID in the handset. I tend to use the announcement caller ID rather than the handset display. It is also easier to use the announcement caller ID from a different room, thanks to the loud volume. Given the features and the price, this answering machine is a definite bargain.
Our next bargain is the OneForAll URC 4330 Universal Remote Control. It has large buttons for individuals who are visually impaired or who have a difficult time pressing small buttons. Also, the glow-in-the-dark keys contrast nicely against the black body of the remote, making the numbers almost jump out at you.
Although this remote does control four devices, you do not have to use it for four. It is a great, large button controller for a television or for any single device of you choosing. I found this remote at Wal-Mart for only $9.76. Because the price is so low, you should definitely call your local store for availability. Again, the price on this and other items may change, so please check before you get to the cash register.
Our third bargain is the Sony Digital Voice Recorder ICD-B7. For those folks with memory problems, this recorder is great. It is very streamlined, fits easily in a pocket, and the clip on the side makes sure it stays there.
This recorder boasts two hours and 30 minutes of recording time. Messages can be saved in two different folders, with each folder holding a maximum of 99 messages. If you have a lot to remember, this recorder will definitely help. There is even a feature that allows you to add more to a saved message. It has an LCD display that shows you the date and time a recording was made. There is even a "hold" button to prevent you from erasing or recording messages when you have the recorder in a purse or pocket. I have seen this recorder at Best Buy for $49.99. This is significantly lower than the original $99.99 price when the recorder first hit stores. If you need a recorder, this one is economical.
The last bargain is not equipment, but rather one of the places where you can purchase AT devices. Radio Shack has a lot of devices for the hearing impaired for reasonable prices. They have telephones with flashers, multi-tone ringers, and easy-access volume controls for $99.99 and less. One available phone with large buttons is available for $39.99. It features large, lighted buttons; three programmable one-touch buttons for fast dialing; and a flashing ringer with three levels of pitch control in case you need a higher or lower pitch.
Well, that does it for the inaugural issue of the AT Bargain Basement. Again, if you find useful AT under $100, let me know. And remember, just because it is inexpensive does not mean it is cheap.
The Assistive Technology Bargain Basement