March 2004


Name Of Column Author Title Article Type
Musings From The President Murray Allan February In Hawaii News & Events
WebWhispers Columnists Carla Lynch Voice Institute At The IAL Experiences
News, Views, & Plain Talk Pat Sanders Cutting Corners At The IAL Experiences
Roger's Ramblings Roger Jordan LSU Conference Experiences
VoicePoints James Shanks, Ph.D. Pt 2- Is Your Voice & Speech Fit   Education-Med
Bits, Buts, & Bytes Dutch Computer Tips Experiences
Welcome New Members Listing Welcome News & Events



                Murray's Mumbles ... Musings from the President
     June and I were "hijacked" last month and were forced, against our will, kicking and screaming, to spend the whole month of February in isolated captivity in Hawaii (see photo at left).  However, we did learn some neat "lingo", such as:

  aloha kakahiaka :: good morning
  aloha auina la :: good afternoon
  aloha ahiahi :: good evening
  kala mai ia`u :: excuse me
  mahalo :: thank you
  pehea `oe? :: how are you?
  maika`i :: I am fine
  kahuna :: expert, master
  haole :: a Caucasian person
  kama`aina :: native born person of Hawaii
  malihini :: a newcomer who lives in Hawaii
  kane :: man
  wahine :: woman
  tita :: tough woman

Well, my "tita" says, "knock this off now".  But, let me say this - February in Hawaii was a "little bit" nicer than February in Canada!!   Best to you all!!

Murray Allan

WebWhispers Columnists
Contributions from Members

By Carla Lynch

     As a relatively new laryngectomee that has progressed to hands free/TEP speech, one that never let the loss of my natural voice deter me from living my life and one that has a strong desire to assist others improve their ability to communicate, I was excited about attending my first IAL VI.  This (2003) being my first IAL convention, I jumped right in with both feet and enrolled as a Laryngectomee Trainee (LT).  Since my surgery in May of 2001, I have wanted to gain as much knowledge and understanding of the anatomical changes in my body and to learn about the options and choices that I have in regaining the ability to speak.  Knowledge is power and gaining a better understanding of life as a laryngectomee can empower us to be more confident and comfortable with ourselves.

     The Voice Institute is an opportunity for Laryngectomee Trainees to gain the perspective of the speech language pathologist.  It is an opportunity for the LT to sit on the other side of the table during therapy sessions.   For the student VIPs, it is having experts and insight from well-rehabilitated laryngectomees available to troubleshoot and assist you with improving your chosen method of communication or perhaps to guide you in developing a different method of alaryngeal speech.

     Laryngectomee Trainees and SLPs are teamed up to assist VIPs with improving their speech.  Each group is assigned to a specific mentor, who checks on the progress of the team during each session.  As a Laryngectomee Trainee, I was able to offer my actual experience as a laryngectomee to give insight to the VIP and to the SLP.  Each member of the team brings a different perspective and everyone on the team gains from having participated in the experience.

     While there are several sessions for the teams; there are also Group Therapy breakout sessions, which allow for 'life experience' exchange of ideas, tips, and lessons learned. The majority of the Voice Institute schedule includes lectures and presentations by a variety of experts in the various areas of alaryngeal speech restoration and rehabilitation. As a laryngectomee, if you have some basic knowledge of the anatomy that is altered, then most of the presentations will be informative. Pay attention and take notes if you are registered as an LT and plan to take the test at the end of the Voice Institute. If you are a VIP, you can attend the presentations, but you don't have to take notes.

     It is truly a rewarding and informative experience.  And don't be concerned; you still have time to participate in the fun aspects of the IAL convention.  And don't miss the Sing-A-Long, the Fun Show, or the Banquet!

 News, Views, & Plain Talk
                                              by Pat Wertz Sanders, WebWhispers VP - Web Information

Cutting Some Corners at the IAL

     Almost every year, someone writes in to the WebWhispers list and asks questions about the cost of the IAL meeting because their finances are tight and they are not sure they can afford the trip.  They know the prices of the air fare and hotel rooms so this is to try to answer some of the other  questions.

    Finding a roommate cuts costs.  Sometimes you can get help with finding a roommate through the VI, IAL or WW. You can always write to the list and say that you are looking.  I know several people who matched up for roommates that way.  

    Registration costs are posted on the IAL site and so is the scholarship information where you can apply for assistance if you are in need of financial help to attend the VI.  WebWhispers will also refund your registration fee for the VI if you apply for our LT Project and qualify.     In 1999, I attended my first IAL, which was being held in Reno.  Luckily, they were running special flights to and from Reno, probably to get the gamblers there. I paid $200 round trip for my air fare and, as for the big gambler, I spent about $10 on nickel slot machines.  Reno didn't make much money on me but then I barely had time to play at anything. But, while I was there, I learned a few basics that may help you if you are worried about expenses while attending one of these meetings. One of the biggest expenses can be food.    Since I was attending the VI, I thought I would have a big breakfast early, then just a snack for lunch.  The restaurant didn't open in time for me to do that unless I gulped my food and ran.  They had a beautiful and expensive buffet that could easily have held me there for hours while I sampled everything but I barely had time to eat.  The VI starts promptly and early.  You need to be there on time so I found having breakfast in my room was faster, easier, cheaper, and I could get a few more minutes sleep!  While I ate snacks and had coffee (You can make coffee in your room and ask for more packs of coffee or tea if needed.)  I was able to look over the day's schedule or refresh my memory on the lessons of the day before.  It is a good start for the day and an inexpensive one.    If you are attending the Annual Meeting, rather than the VI,  you have extra time but it is still nice to have an easy breakfast available or snacks for lunch at other times. There are always some break times during the day with cookies, coffee and tea for everyone.     Some years, when I drove, there was no problem with space so I have taken food items with me that I could eat in the room. I even took a small cooler. With a car there, I was also able to leave the hotel area for some other meals or to pick up extra items. A trip to the salad bar at a local restaurant can be very reasonable for an eat-out trip or you can pick up fast food and bring it back to your room.  Have a few plastic zip-lock bags in case you need them to store something.

    The times when I flew, I was more selective, picked small light weight food items which more than paid their way for the space taken up in my suitcase. You might start with a few plastic spoons that you can throw away when you head for home. I needed one good knife which I packed in my luggage to be checked. A few thin paper plates take up little room and make serving yourself a little easier. If you want to take individual servings of yogurt, cream cheese or dips, raw vegetables, peanut butter and spreads for crackers, I would suggest you put them in a zip-lock bag and sit them in a plastic shoe box so a leak won't make a mess.  Better adapted for travel are snack crackers, breakfast bars, assorted cheeses, trail mix, dried or fresh fruit and lots of nuts. Crackers come packaged in assortments with various spreads or, of course, plain. You can get cereals (and grits, y'all) that just need hot water. You can make up a bag of your own mixture at home with instant cereal, powdered instant milk and sweetener. Cold cereals are fine but take up more space. There will be a coffee pot in each room so you can get very hot water but you will need a bowl or cup to mix it. Take an empty plastic butter or dip container to use as a bowl and toss it when you are through with it.  If you happen to have a microwave in your room, your choices multiply.

    If you prefer to have breakfast and dinner out, you might want a light lunch in your room.  Some of the same things mentioned above are good, but the individual sized cans of Deviled Ham, chicken or tuna (Get pop-top lids) are good on crackers or, if you have dinner out, bring your left over bread (is there such a thing?) back for the next day and make a sandwich.

     There are 'just add hot water' soups now.  You can mix those in a cup. If you do have lunch out, you might remember that drinks such as coffee, iced tea, and cokes are not cheap. Look for the extra charge on the menu and you might want water! Before I go on a trip, I wander through the grocery and pick things to take with me considering there may not be refrigeration (the ice bucket with some ice in it does ok for a few items) and keeping it as simple as possible for serving.  Every year, I spot something on the shelves that I hadn't seen before.  The less refrigeration or cooking is required, the better.  You might even consider this an opportunity to lose a couple of pounds by selecting your snacks carefully.

Evening meals are more expensive just about everywhere but remember that there will be activities included in your registration, such as the Meet and Greet, hosted this year by Griffin Labs and ATOS, on Wednesday night, and there will be a variety of snack foods, a beef carving station, and desserts. The IAL Banquet held on Saturday night is always a great sit down dinner.

On Friday evening this year, the WebWhispers reception before the dinner is furnished by Bruce Medical and this has been delightful every year.  Our WW dinner has managed to keep the charge for our lovely buffet to $25 per person this year only because Inhealth Technologies will cover the costs for each of us over $25 and this is considerable. Yes, you have to sign up for the dinner to come to the reception and reservations are required in advance.

     I asked Jack Henslee about nearby restaurants and he answered, "There is a restaurant called the Spaghetti Station right next to the hotel. Prices from about $8-$20.  As with most hotels the dining room is a little high but I've seen worse. There is also a deli that's reasonable.  For everything else you have a couple of choices.  About a 15 minute walk to lots of different places, to include fast food, on the main drag in front of Disneyland's main gate (Harbor Blvd).  You can take the free Disneyland shuttle (every 30 minutes) to the main gate, and walk to places on Harbor or go to Downtown Disney (free).  Most places in Downtown Disney are on the high side but manageable."

     I have been putting some of these hints in the WebWhispers list every year and have had a number of people come up and say they used these ideas and it worked wonderfully well for them.  If you come up with some ideas we haven't covered, please let me know what worked well for you.  How did you keep your expenses down?

 Roger's Ramblings
                                                                                                                   by Roger Jordan (Laryngectomy - 1993)

    First, I don't quite understand the uproar over one small boob shown on national TV on Super Bowl Sunday.  I have been seeing dozens of very large ones most Sundays during football season for years. But then, I am a Saints fan.                                                        

    To get to more serious matters, I recently attended a conference put on by the LSU Medical Center Department of Otolaryngology and ATOS. The principal speakers were Andy McWhorter, MD, of the LSU  faculty and Dr. Corina van As, SLP from the Netherlands. Many of you have met Corina at the IAL annual meetings in recent years.

    The program covered new candida resistant products for TEP users and the proper means of placing the adhesive retainer for a free hands unit or HME. I was one of the guinea pigs for the latter. Corina demonstrated how one should clean the area around the stoma, first with a product such as Remove, then wipe with an alcohol towel, and then coat with skin prep. Allow the skin prep to dry, put a thin coat of Silicone adhesive on the XtraBase or other retaining product, allow that to dry for several minutes and then place carefully on the neck, being sure to smooth out any folds or wrinkles. You may insert an HME immediately, but should wait at least 30 minutes before trying to use a Free Hands valve. 

    I have found that it is also better to replace the Free hands with an HME if one is not going to be speaking for any length of time, as when driving or home alone. This tends to keep the seal for a much longer period of time. Using this method, I have been able to keep a seal sufficient for Free Hands use for up to 4 days. I do sometimes have to add a small amount of Silicone glue to an area behind the base plate after 2 or 3 days, but I would caution that the glue should only be added from the outer border of the plate, never through the center opening. If one tries to add glue through the center opening, some will stick to the area where the HME or Free  Hands will go or to the neck and grab the HME, Free Hands, or any tissue used to clean the area after a cough or sneeze. The latter advice is from the Voice of Experience.

    Another topic covered was regaining the sense of smell following laryngectomy surgery. Carina will repeat this at the Voice Institute in Anaheim and Annual Meeting attendees will be welcome to attend this session of the VI.                                                                   

    Which brings up the final topic: the IAL Annual Meeting and Voice Institute are scheduled for July 6 -10 for the Voice Institute and July 7-10 for the AM.  Both will be held at the Sheraton Anaheim Hotel. The hotel is excellent, with good food and facilities, and is just a short distance from the main gate of Disneyland with free shuttle service provided by the hotel every half hour. The hotel rate is only $95.00 per night per room plus tax, single OR double, so those on a tight budget might share a room. The rooms are spacious with two queen beds, large TV, iron and board, and internet access, etc.  Reservations for the hotel can be made by calling (800) 325-3535.  You must mention the IAL to get this rate and the cut-off date for this rate is June 6th.  And it is firm cut-off, so make your reservations early.  With the many sights and attractions in the Anaheim area, bring your kids and grand children. They can have fun while you learn a lot that will improve your life as a lary and you can have some fun also.  The IAL Banquet promises to be excellent and is included in your registration fee. I encourage all larys to attend, if at all possible. You will always regret the ones you missed if you ever attend one - and life is much to short to live with avoidable regrets.

to register for the
IAL 2004 Annual Meeting
Voice Institute

  coordinated by   Dr. Dan Kelly, Associate Professor ( )
                                Department of Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery
                                7700 University Court, Suite 3900, West Chester, OH  45069

[ ©  2004 James Shanks, Ph.D. & Carol S. Foulke, M.S.]

Are Your Voice And Speech "Fit"?  (Part 2 of 2)
James Shanks, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Department of Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery
Indiana School of Medicine &
Carol S. Foulke, M.S.


    Let us now go back to language to indicate the difference between the spoken versus the read or written form of language.  For our orthographic (written) alphabet there are 26 symbols/letters. The vowels are represented by the symbols/letters "a,e,i,o,u" and sometimes "y". The remaining 21 symbols/letters represent the consonants. 

    However, we do not speak letters.  We say speech sounds = phonemes.  In order to represent the many sounds of speech we require a different alphabet - a phonetic alphabet.   We use a phonetic alphabet to represent sound of speech because there are many more sounds for spoken language than for written language.  A phonetic alphabet also identifies vowels versus consonants. Again it is not the purpose of this article to discuss a phonetic alphabet. It is important, however, to understand that spoken language has many more sounds in its composition which require representation than written language.

    Now we will compare letters to sounds.  We noted that there were five (perhaps six) letter vowels.  We find there are many, many more vowel sounds, 21 in all, in the English language i.e. 12 vowel continuants, 4 intervowel glides or semivowels, and 5 diphthongs. Consonants total 21 in letterform to be seen, written or read. In contrast there are 20 consonant sounds used in the English language. 

    For our purposes we are going to simplify it to say there are many potential consonants that we do not use in English or in every day speech.  Consonants involve some contact between two structures of the mouth or throat.  Consonants differ in (1) WHERE the contact is made, (2) HOW the sound is made and (3) whether or not it is VOICED (noisemaker action). Contact may occur at any point between the lips and the larynx.  For example, five consonants involve lip approximation.  For "w" and "wh" lip contact is incomplete.  For "m, b, p" lip closure is complete; these three sounds differ in HOW they are made.  For "m", lip closure is complete enough to prevent the sound coming out of the mouth.  Instead the soft (back part of the palate) lowers to let sound enter the nose.

    To appreciate the physiology of these three sounds, please move your hand up under your chin; by placing the thumb on your larynx or where your larynx was before surgery, you can tell if a sound is voiced.  By placing your forefinger on the side of your nose you can tell if the sound goes through your nose.  By placing the other fingers in front of your lips you can tell how much breath pressure emerges from the mouth.  When you hum or say "m" your nose vibrates.  This is a nasal consonant.  The next sound, the "b" sound, differs from "m" not in terms of where but by HOW the sound is made: the lips are together.  As the lips part the sound comes out, though very little air comes out.  "b" is a sound that has stopped and exploded so we call it a plosive.  In both cases ("m" and "b") the action of the voice box provides voice. 

    In contrast, when we say "p" the thumb confirms that we have no such voicing, no vibration.  We call this a voiceless consonant.  This, however, does not tell the whole story. The fact that "p" is voiceless fails to show how air pressure helps, even if made with an artificial larynx.  When we attempt to say a voiceless sound "p" with an electro larynx, we have a voice/voiceless inconsistency. We know that the batteries in the electro larynx provide continuous flow of voice (sound), and yet we can articulate the sound of "p" in order to make it differ from "b".  For our purposes we will say that the voiceless consonant is more accurately identified as a sound not only without voice but also with increased air pressure expelled from the mouth. 

    Of our 20+ consonant sounds we identify nine as voiceless consonants: "p, t, k, f, th, s, sh, ch" and "wh".  Saving the sound of "h" for later we will focus on these nine consonants.  Each of these voiceless consonants has a voiced partner; in contrast to "p" there is a voiced "b"; and so forth.  To these six sounds formed by stopping and then exploding air, we add "f, v, th" sounds which constrict the flow of air to let it emerge in a continuous fashion.  Another half dozen sounds ("s, z, sh, zh, ch, j") involve hissing.  Finally, we have the "y" (really like a vowel "ee"), the "w" (like the vowel "oo"), plus "r, l".

    If I said "widdo wabbit", you would perhaps understand that I meant "little rabbit" but you still would be aware that I am replacing "l" and "r" consonants with a "w".  When such a sound has been identified as being substituted or distorted, we are now in a position to improve or correct the error.  As a test of your ability to catch the error, see if you can spot my error when I try to say the phrase "cookie book" this way, "tootie boot".  You picked up the error as replacing a "k" with a "t" sound.  To make this correction we need to change how the sound is made or where it is made.  In the case of "cookie book" we need to make the sound with the back of the tongue rather than the tip in front.  In contrast if I said the number "sixty-six" this way - "tixty-tick"- you would say the error is using a "t" in place of an "s".  Moreover, my error is both where and how the sound is released.  With nothing more than mouth air you should be able to bring your teeth together, put the tongue in the proper place and push the air out from the mouth without any voice - simply to hiss "s".   Being able to make the sound by itself is the next step to saying it in a phrase or a word.

    Now let's come back to speech with an electro larynx.  The first three phrases on our test include the three nasal consonants.  They also may be illustrated in a single word "morning".  The primary difficulty articulating nasal consonants for alaryngeal speech is that we don't get enough of a buzz or hum through the nose.  It could sound as bad as "bordig"; often it is not that severe a problem.  To reduce the nasality is to run the risk of confusing the listener.  How do you get nasal sounds?  Physiologically, you should be able to make the sound from the electro larynx go through your throat or mouth up into the nose in order to say the sound.  However, it may be that saying the nasal consonant involves excessive tension of the soft palate, which therefore needs to relax.  You may do this by using images: think of humming; as you hum you will note that the sound does in fact go through the nose.  Think of Tony whom we met after he got off the boat from Italy.  He, as we, might say "momma mia".  A different phrase "mm, good" (Campbell's soup) might encourage one to say the nasal consonant more fully.

    The next six sounds involve stopping the flow of air at different places within the mouth and then exploding or releasing in a controlled burst of sound and air.  When attempting to say "paper cup" we run the risk (especially with an electro larynx) of having it come out "baber cub".  We are less apt to have an error of where or how the sound is released but we are more apt to have an error of voicing, usually in the direction of too much voicing for a voiceless sound.  In order to make the "p" sound by itself simply use mouth air in order to go "p".  This puff of mouth air can explode on your finger or on a strip of Kleenex, or can make a flame vary on a candle or a match.  That air pressure is crucial.  After you have been able to get the puff from the lips you should be able to add the vowels and the rest of the word.  As you attempt to say "paper" make sure it doesn't sound like "baber".  Voice will continue from the electro larynx.  Rather than using the thumb to try to turn voice on or off within a word, we need instead to override the voice by means of extra breath pressure.  That pressure will cancel the voicing from the instrument to enable you to say "paper". 

    In a similar fashion we would look for the voicing error of saying the number "dwendy" rather than "twenty".  Again we override the voicing of the instrument by releasing mouth air at the tongue tip to produce a voiceless consonant "t".  When we come to the "k" sound in "cookie", again we need to build up the pressure, not behind the tongue tip but behind the back of the tongue as it rises up to meet the roof of the mouth.  As the back of the tongue drops, air pressure can be expelled to make the "k", first by itself, then in a syllable or in a word.  If you hear someone say, "peter piper picked a peck of pickled peppers", this way:       "beder biber biged a beg of bigled bebbers", you might think that the person might be inebriated or have a neurological condition such as pseudo bulbar palsy.

    Another way to identify whether you have the requisite pressure in the mouth is to watch where you pouch your skin when you make the voiceless sound.  In doing the "p" you should have your cheeks pop in and out; in order to do the "t" you should be able to see a bulge (under your chin) or with your throat pushing out the wall of the neck.

    After the test item about Gary's dog, the next four phrases have sounds that are identified as fricatives, i.e., there is much friction, friction involving air.  The sound "f" has more friction and more movement of the lower lip and neck then does the "v".  Similarly when we are saying "th" in "teeth" or "mother", friction is evident where the tongue tip sticks between the front teeth. 

    The next six sounds, a variation on friction, are sub-titled sibilants meaning they have a "hissing" characteristic.  In essence you should be able to have air inside the mouth pushed between the tongue and teeth to make the "s" sound.  This could be associated with a snake or goose.  If you try to say the word "sip" and it sounds like "zip" you have not been able to get the needed air pressure behind the teeth.  That same factor would exist if you attempt to say the word "bus" and it sounds like "buzz", or "ice" coming out as "eyes".  Air for the voiceless sibilant, "s", comes not from the lung, but from the mouth/throat.  In order to say it, the cheeks and neck area under the chin must puff in and out like a balloon.

    The final test phrase, "he's ahead", poses problems for every laryngectomee, no matter the voice source.  The reason is the "h" which is called a glottal sound.  The glottis, the edge of the vocal cords, resembles the hole in a donut.  When you have no larynx you have no glottal rim; therefore you have no ability to narrow it down to get the constriction of air and the friction that goes with the sound "h".  However, there is an old saying, "Never underestimate the power of a woman nor the ability to compensate for a physical difference". 

    In the case of the larynx sound, we have a possible replacement if we can get two pieces of equipment in the mouth to approach each other, not completely but close enough so that air can pass between them to create the impression of a sound like "h".  This is possible as the back of the tongue moves up to the back part of the roof of the mouth.  This sound is already in use in many, many languages:  in German it is an "ich", it is "loch" in Scotland, and in Arabic it is "khube".  This sound is made by raising the back of the tongue towards the roof of the mouth as though one were to say the "k" sound.  However, instead of making this a "hit and run" or stop - plosive "k", it needs to be prolonged.  As throat air is passed between the tongue and the roof of the mouth in this fashion, an "hhh" results.  Technically, it is not the same as "h".  This is a legitimate error sound that can be used by laryngectomees no matter what voice source is being used.  The laryngectomee needs to practice this sound because it is not native to English.  The ability to make this sound will enable you to say a beginning sound in between "air" and "care".

    There is one other skill that needs to be tested and expanded for the laryngectomee himself and for those who propose to hear and understand his speech.  That involves listening, hearing and learning to understand this unusual voice.  You may have heard of the laryngectomee who complains, "My wife doesn't understand me."  He may be right!  She may understand him psychologically, but doesn't always understand his alaryngeal speech!  She needs to learn to listen. 

    Many spouses and other relatives have difficulty initially in understanding speech after laryngectomy.  This is less likely to be the case with children who are more apt to accommodate to this unusual sound of voice and not to let it be an obstacle to understanding speech.  Difficultly in understanding alaryngeal speech may extend to the laryngectomee himself; he needs to hear what he sounds like.  In order to do that a number of things may be done.  First, we know that ENT physicians, trained as ear, nose and throat specialists, do the majority of total laryngectomy surgeries.   In the process of testing such a patient after laryngectomy they or their audiologist are apt to have probed his ability to hear and listen.  This would include a test of what is called auditory acuity, the ability to hear quiet sounds.  Another test is of the ability to understand or discriminate speech, which is said in varying levels of loudness.  Even if you succeed in proving that you have normal acuity and discrimination of normal speech, you may not be able to appreciate or discriminate alaryngeal speech.  Consequently the laryngectomee needs practice in listening to himself.  How do you do that?

      You may talk into a tape recorder or dictating machine, and then listen to it as it is played back.  Another possibility is to cover your ears.  Sometimes singers cup or cover one or both ears when they sing.  The reason is that they seek feedback.  Covering your ears gives you an additional means by which you hear yourself speak or sing.  When I speak, speech coming out of my mouth goes to my ear two ways: out the mouth, around the head and into the ear.  A second route is available through the bones of the head directly into the ear.

      We end where we began.  Tony learned to produce voice with Ed Sweeny's help.  He learned to produce esophageal voice and he learned English, with an Italian accent, topped by an Irish twist.   In order to complete his assessment he went to a Speech Pathologist in order to get testing and further analysis of the accuracy of his speech and language as well as voice.  After being assessed it was determined that Tony in fact did very well.  May you, like Tony, learn to speak in a new way and to appreciate what a wonderful job you have done.  In its way it is a small miracle.  May you continue to use, to improve, and to enjoy your new voice.

                        Dutch's Bits, Buts, & Bytes
 Update your "Java"!
 Java, as you already know, is a large island in the Malay archipelago just south of Borneo.  ;-)

Actually, in the context we're talking about today, Java is a platform-independent, object-oriented, compiled programming language created by Sun Microsystems.  Programmers write Java programs--called "applets"--that automatically download from the web and run on your computer.  In fact, if the Java applets are written well, they'll run on almost EVERY computer: PCs, Macs, *nix boxes, cell phones, refrigerators... chances are, your computer came with the ability to load and run Java applets straight out of the box.

What do these Java applets look like?  Well, for example, there's a free Java applet on the web called "AirportMonitor" that lets you track all inbound and outbound flights at LAX (and a few other airports).  You can find the LAX AirportMonitor Java applet at

Like most Java applets, just visit the site and the applet automatically loads in your web browser.  And be patient: The AirportMonitor applet might take just short of forever to load.  Your patience will be rewarded, though.

You can find a list of other AiportMonitor-enabled sites at

Now, remember how I said that Java applets automatically download from the web and run on your computer?  Think about that for a minute. Considering the number of viruses and Trojan horses out there, do we *REALLY* want downloaded Java programs auto-executing on our computers?

Well, it depends.

Java applets run in something called a "sandbox" (actually it's called the "Java RunTime Environment").  The sandbox is just a special zone on your computer fenced off from your operating system and other applications.  In theory, Java applets can't get outside of the sandbox and damage your computer.  In theory.

The problem is that there are two major "flavors" of Java:

     1. Microsoft's (which you already have if you own a PC) and
     2. Sun's (which you don't have).

In Microsoft's version of Java, the sandbox is better known as "Windows."  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  But, it is not an exaggeration to say that in Microsoft's version of Java there are some pretty significant security holes in the wall between the sandbox and the OS.  And that's a bad thing.

Even worse, Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine (the software on PCs that actually runs Java applets) is

     - Buggy,
     - Proprietary, and
     - Not long for this world.

By way of comparison, Sun's version of Java is

     - Newer,
     - Safer (because it has a MUCH better sandbox), and
     - Official (because, after all, Sun invented Java.)

Oh, and what did I mean when I said that Microsoft's Java Virtual Machine is not long for this world?  Well, Microsoft will stop supporting their JVM version on September 30th, 2004.  And, because of Microsoft's recent court settlement with Sun, there will be no replacement.  Microsoft recommends that, after 9/30, you lock down Microsoft Internet Explorer security zones so that the MSJVM works only with trusted sites.

Microsoft has even created a page that talks about transitioning from the Microsoft Java Virtual Machine.  You can find the page at:

but a MUCH better solution for folks like you and me is to hop on over to

and get Sun's official Java software.  The process couldn't be simpler: Just click on the "Get It Now" button and Sun automatically downloads and installs the official Java software your computer.  And Sun's free Java software is available for the PC, Mac, Linux, and (obviously) Sun Solaris.

You'll [probably] be asked to reboot once the new Java software is installed.  Once you reboot, though, you'll have the latest, greatest version of Java.  And, if you are a PC user, you won't have to worry about what's going to happen when Microsoft's JVM officially dies in September.

Neat, huh?  And once you've updated your Java, you can find a BUNCH of free Java applets to play with at

I told you how to download and install Sun's official version of Java but forgot to tell you what you should do with your Microsoft Java Virtual Machine AFTER the installation.  Whoops!

This may sound kind of strange, but my gut feeling is that you should *NOT* uninstall the MSJVM.  Rather, you should abandon it in place.

Here's why.  Uninstalling Windows components, even ones that are going to die in September, is a fool's errand if only because you have no idea if the uninstall is going work.  The worst case scenario is that you could unintentionally break Windows in the process.  And that's a risk I'm just not willing to take.

Instead, to make sure your Microsoft Java Virtual Machine is sent off to its own private Siberia, download and install the Sun version of Java and then:

     1. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options.
     2. Click on the Advanced tab.
     3. Scroll down to the Java settings and make sure there is a checkmark
          next to Use Java 2 v1.42_03 for <applet>
     4. Scroll down Microsoft VM and uncheck everything.
     5. Click on OK.

After that,

     1. Open your PC's control panel.  (Start > Settings > Control Panel; Start > Control Pan in XP)
         1a. If you have XP and your Control Panel is a purple page asking you to Pick
          a Category, click on Switch to Classic View in the upper left corner of the page.
     2. Double-click on the Java Control Panel icon.  (If you have two Java Control Panel icons,
         click on purple and red one not the black, white, and red one that looks like a
         ouija board pointer).
     3. It'll take a while for the control panel to open, but when it does click on the browser tab.
     4. Make sure there is a checkmark next to all of the browsers that you use.
     5. Click on apply and then close the control panel.

Then, restart your computer.  That's it.  :)

Enjoy!  :)

(Above courtesy of the "Internet Tourbus")


At you'll find answers to questions that are commonly asked by other annoyed Windows users, discussion forums, and definitions of technical terms and Windows error messages.

For example, I recently got a new PC with Windows XP and I found that no matter how many times I turned on the status bar at the bottom of the Internet Explorer window, the next time I started IE the status bar was gone again!  "That's annoying," I thought.  And then the light bulb flickered on... to the rescue!

Hang on... I'm having a Haley Joel Osment moment.  Yes... in my mind's eye... I SEE MAC USERS!  Well put down those pitchforks and clubs -- I have some sites to help out with Mac problems, and to offer useful hints and tips:

   Lary Laffers   

by WW Member Marti Fellhauer-Sampson


   ListServ "Flame Warriors"   

Terms of Importance

1. n.   A hostile, often unprovoked, message directed at a participant of an internet discussion forum.  The content of the message typically disparages the intelligence, sanity, behavior,  knowledge, character, or ancestry of the recipient.
2. v.   The act of sending a hostile message on the internet.

flame warrior
1. n.   One who actively flames, or willingly participates in a flame war ... (Another Example Below) ...

Netiquette Nazi

Netiquette Nazi is in control and she does not tolerate backtalk. The guidelines
for every discussion forum are clearly posted and she demands obedience.
If any of you sniveling dogs break the rules or deviate from strict observance of
Email ListServ Netiquette you WILL be punished.  ;-)

Above courtesy of Mike Reed
See more of his work at: 

   Welcome To Our New Members:

I would like to welcome all new laryngectomees, caregivers and professionals to WebWhispers! There is much information to be gained from the site and from suggestions submitted by our members on the Email lists.  If you have any questions or constructive criticism please contact Pat or Dutch at

Take care and stay well!
Murray Allan, WW President

     We welcome the 27 new members who joined us during February 2004:

James Arrigo
W. Harrison, NY
Richard Bowers
Rockford, IL
George Brower
Red Hill, PA
Wayne Calbeck
Dryden, Ont. Canada
William Coman
Monroe, WA
Jenny Cowell - SLP
Las Vegas, NV
Donna Darnell
Bowling Green, MO
Benita Dunn - Caregiver
Waskom, TX
Joseph Famiglietti
Kansas City, MO
C. Sapp Funderburk
Taylors, SC
Sonia Grewal - SLP
Tampa, FL
Angela Hochell - Caregiver
Thomson, GA
Denise Hunter
Richmond, VA
Keith Janzow
Winona, MN
Ralph Johnson
Englewood, FL
Mike Kelly
Bremerton, WA
John Kendrick
S. Burlington, VT
Robert Lundell
Punta Gorda, FL
Cheryl Mikolajczak
Waskom, TX
Natalie Miller - SLP
Austin, TX
Kelli Smith - SLP
Moore, OK
George Patterson
Colorado Springs, CO
Floyd Punches
Cedarpines Park, CA
Jon Robertson - InHealth (Vendor)
Carpinteria, CA
Matthew Stevenson
Bridgeport, CT
Tamala Toney - Caregiver
Columbia, SC
Kathy Warren - Caregiver
Fayette, AL

WebWhispers is an Internet-based laryngectomee support group.
  It is a member of the International Association of Laryngectomees.        
  The current officers are:
  Murray Allan..............................President
  Pat Sanders............V.P.-Web Information
  Terry Duga.........V.P.-Finance and Admin.
  Libby Fitzgerald.....V.P.-Member Services
  Dutch Helms...........................Webmaster

  WebWhispers welcomes all those diagnosed with cancer of the
  larynx or who have lost their voices for other reasons, their
  caregivers, friends and medical personnel.  For complete information
  on membership or for questions about this publication, contact
  Dutch Helms at:   


The information offered via the WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club and in is not intended as a substitute for professional
medical help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in
  understanding current medical knowledge.  A physician should always be   
consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

As a charitable organization, as described in IRS § 501(c)(3), the WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club
is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with IRS § 170.

  ? 2004 WebWhispers
Reprinting/Copying Instructions
can be found on our
WotW/Journal Page.