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Good Bytes Cafe gives internet, computer access to the disabled

Darren Murph
December 17, 2006
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In an attempt to bring the computing universe we privileged folk know and love so well to those with limited mobility, Goodwill Industries has opened a free internet café in San Antonio, Texas where wheelchairs are more than welcome. The firm, most commonly associated with its numerous thrift stores and handicapped job placement services, hopes that the normal looking café will take off and encourage disabled / elderly individuals to come and learn about computing skills that can assist them in their daily lives and with locating a job. Good Bytes Cafe, as it's so aptly-named, features the same standard layout of any coffee house, but features a bevy of highly sophisticated PCs for users with limited reach and movement capabilities. Thanks to a $125,000 grant from the local AT&T branch, users have access to software that "magnifies and reads aloud to help those who are visually impaired," joystick mice that are easier to control, an optical-based mouse that controls the cursor with your eyes, and even a minuscule face-mounted controller that directs the cursor by simply moving one's head or nose. Folks attending the grand opening were more than pleased, and one deaf individual went so far as to deem the hangout "absolutely awesome." Rebecca Helterbrand, marketing vice president for Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, is proud of the opening, but hopes that they'll be far "from the last."

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