Hello,

We are seeking participation for a research study that is being conducted

through the University of Montreal to better understand the experiences of

adults who have learned braille. The results from this study will help us to

better understand the facilitators and barriers that adults experience

during their braille training, and how to improve the training provided in

future. We are seeking participation from people who are blind or who have

low vision, are 40 years or older, and who have learned braille sometime

within the past 10 years. Participation would involve a single,

confidential, anonymous phone interview that will take between 60 and 90

minutes to complete.

If you are interested in participating, we will send you a consent form in

advance that will tell you more about the study in either large print,

braille or electronic (email) format. You also have the option of requesting

a copy of the questionnaire in advance, to give you a better idea of the

kind of questions we’ll ask.

The results from this study will help rehabilitation professionals design

braille training programs that better meet the needs of adult and senior

learners. Please feel free to tell others who may be interested in

participating as well. Please feel free to write to me at

natalina.martiniello@umontreal.ca <mailto:natalina.martiniello@umontreal.ca>

to learn more. Thank you for your time.

Natalie Martiniello, M.Sc, CVRT, Ph.D Candidate

University of Montreal

Natalina.martiniello@umontreal.ca <mailto:Natalina.martiniello@umontreal.ca>

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Guest Post: Ford Develops Smart Window Prototype For Blind Passengers — Feel The View!

Ford Develops Smart Window Prototype For Blind Passengers — Feel The View!

 

 

 

By Rahul Nagaraj

 

May 7, 2018, 12:49 [IST]

 

 

 

Ford has developed a prototype smart window, allowing blind passengers to feel the passing landscape outside.

 

 

 

The ‘Feel The View’ technology was created by an Italian startup, Aedo in collaboration with Ford. The prototype uses vibrations to give a blind or partially-sighted passenger a sense of the scenery outside.

 

 

 

The technology takes pictures of the passing scenery from the outer side of the window. The images captured are then converted into high-contrast black and white pictures.

 

 

 

These monochrome images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs. On touching the images, the various shades of grey vibrate at different intensities up to the range of 255. These vibrations allow the blind passengers to touch the scene and rebuild the landscape in their mind.

 

 

 

As the finger moves over the different parts of the image, different intensities of vibrations provide haptic feedback to the person using the technology.

 

 

 

The smart window technology also has an AI voice assistant, which uses the car’s audio system to give the passengers a context of what they are feeling.

 

 

 

A Ford spokesperson stated, “We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones.”

 

 

 

This technology of the Smart Windows is part of Ford’s Advanced Research. The company has no plans of introducing it in the market anytime soon. This might be part of Ford’s autonomous vehicle program to research how a vehicle will interact with its passengers when travelling.

 

https://www.drivespark.com/four-wheelers/2018/ford-smart-window-prototype-blind-passengers-feel-the-view-025618.html

 

GTT Parksville/Qualicum Beach Low Vision Support Group, CNIB Demo for Low Vision Month, May 23, 2018

Parksville Qualicum Beach Low Vision Support Group

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

And CNIB

 

You’re Invited to the next gathering of the PQB Low Vision Support Group on May 23, 2018, where we will hear from Evaleen Baker from the CNIB.

 

Please share this invitation widely to anyone you think will benefit from our collective knowledge.

 

Monthly low vision Support Gathering:

 

Theme: Low Vision Month

When:  Thursday, May 23, 2018, 1:30 until 3:00 PM

Where:  The Gardens, 650 Berwick Rd North, Qualicum Beach

 

Agenda:

Evaleen Baker, Low Vision Specialist with CNIB/Vision Rehab BC will talk about all the new and emerging technology available to assist blind and low vision residents gain their independence.

  1. Light refreshments provided.

 

To RSVP:

Please call Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email at albert.GTT@CCBNational.net.

 

 

GTT-TechEase Regina Meeting Invitation, Accessible Games, May 26, 2018

Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology

Regina Drop-In Meeting Invitation

 

May 26, 2018

 

Sponsored by Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN),

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

And the

Regina Public Library

 

Assistive Technology Peer Support by and for people who are blind/low vision

 

Theme: Accessible Games.

Date: May 26, 2018

Time: 2:00 until 4:00 PM

Location: Regina Central Library

 

The group will discuss accessible games, mostly online, but also physical games will be discussed. We will also be discussing the Access 2 Entertainment card.

 

Out of town participants can arrange to join us through Facebook Messanger by contacting Amber or Michelle in advance of the meeting at the below email addresses.

 

For more information and to RSVP:

Amber-Joy Boyd amberjoy.boyd@hotmail.com

Michelle Bush Michelle.Bush@sasktel.net

 

Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology Regina Drop-In Meeting Summary Notes, Accessible Shopping & Banking, April 28, 2018

Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology

Regina Drop-In Meeting

Summary Notes

April 28, 2018

 

Sponsored by Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN),

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

And the

Regina Public Library

 

Assistive Technology Peer Support by and for people who are blind/low vision

 

In attendance: 11 Participants. Amber, Doug, Michelle, Kari (RPL), Camille, Wes, Donna, Lori, Anna, Barry, Jerome

 

Today’s topic: Accessible Shopping & Banking

 

 

Accessible Shopping:

We discussed pros & cons of online shopping in general

Pros: Fast, convenient, don’t have to go out and get help, don’t have to navigate new spaces or remember familiar ones, sometimes there are deals online that aren’t in the store, don’t have to haul things home from store or get a cab

 

Cons: Can’t see online pictures and descriptions aren’t always great, can’t try on clothes to make sure they fit, can’t feel fabrics, many only take credit cards, aren’t exactly sure what you’ll get

 

We discussed examples of online vendors that people in the room have used, the following is notes on each online vendor we discussed, I have tried to group them by type.

 

Online Only Vendors:

Amazon – $30 and then free shipping on all of their items, they have 3rd party vendors that should be avoided, can only use credit card at this time,  there is a disability support area you can contact if you need help due to accessibility and they are very helpful (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/accessibility?ie=UTF8&ref_=s9_acss_bw_cg_a11ymcro_md1_w&skip=true or http://www.amazon.ca/access ), they have a great return policy as you can just put box in mail return to sender, they also work with people when there are problems to resolve them, you can call their customer service as well for help: 1-877-586-3230

Amazon.ca: Online shopping in Canada – books, electronics, Kindle, home & garden, DVDs, tools, music, health & beauty, watches, baby, sporting goods & more

www.amazon.ca

Amazon.ca: Online shopping in Canada – books, electronics, Kindle, home & garden, DVDs, tools, music, health & beauty, watches, baby, sporting goods & more. Free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime.

 

 

Zulily – Mostly clothes, sizes tend to run small, great deals, good return policy, takes a long time to arrive as they come from Asian countries primarily

 

Facebook Ads that lead to vendors – Hit or miss, many aren’t checked, a few of us have never received products from these and been ripped off the money

 

Stores that have online options:

Chapters – They will deliver to your house or the store, if you choose the store and there is any problem with it they can return your money in store. If you go to the store to purchase something and they don’t have it they will assist you to order it in via the webstore, can use credit card or paypal

 

Toys R Us – They have a lot more options online, they will deliver to the house and you can return in store or by mailing back if there is any problem, there are often deals online they don’t have in store and better prices

 

Wal-Mart – Can deliver to you or to the store, they can return in store if there is a problem with anything, more selection online, online does tell you if the item is available locally but it is not always accurate

 

Costco – Good for a variety of products, you can return in store, they ship right to your house or the store, some good deals online, saves having to deal with crowds in store, you still need a Costco membership to shop online

 

Best Buy – The accessibility of the site is not great, the mobile version is better than web version, they will help in store with website if they don’t have product in-store you are looking for

 

Quarks – They have more selection and better deals online but it is better to go in to store to try on shoes for sizing before ordering online

 

Online Marketplaces:

eBay – Is wither an auction site or a buy it now site depending on how you have your preferences set, the auction aspect can be addicting, Hit or miss, depends on the vendor, generally good for small cheap products as they come from online stores in Asian countries, very hit or miss when dealing with individual sellers, always read ratings before choosing who to deal with, long wait times primarily for things to arrive (2+ months), can use credit card or PayPal

 

Etsy – Artisans marketplace primarily for buying crafts and antiques, depends on the vendor, always read their rating before dealing with them, hit and miss for how long items will take to arrive, some items are made to order so make sure you understand what you are buying before you purchase as the expected wait times may be 3+ months, you have to have PayPal to use Etsy

 

Local Grocery Options that Deliver:

A lot of people felt the best way to utilize delivery from stores is to buy the things that are heavy or non-perishable like pop and paper towels and go to the store for the produce themselves

 

Save on Foods – Order online, deliver to your door, it gives you certain windows for deliveries, need a credit card, there is a delivery charge approx. $10

 

Superstore – Does not deliver but does do Click and Collect where you can choose items on-line and then show up in window and they will hand your groceries to you, need a credit card

 

Lakeview Fine Foods – Delivers locally on certain days to certain areas, $14 (ish) delivery charge

 

Walmart – Delivers to your door through their website but not a lot of fresh food options are available online, free delivery on orders over a certain amount (either $30 or $50)

 

Local and Fresh: http://localandfresh.ca/

– Local, fresh, seasonal produce, delivered monthly or more often, credit card online or debit at the door

 

Delivrr: https://www.deliverr.ca/

– Delivers whatever you want, how much you pay is how much you have delivered and how long it takes them to pick it all up, groceries, fast food, liquor, etc.

 

Reach Regina: http://www.reachinregina.ca/

– Delivers “convenience meals” pre-made meals on a weekly or monthly basis, made fresh and then frozen, just defrost, cook and eat, prices and plans vary

– They also have Good Food Box depots around the city to get local fresh, seasonal produce

 

Other notes about shopping:

  • PayPal – PayPal is a way to pay online, your PayPal account is linked to your bank account and/or credit card, it allows you to type in a username and password at checkout online instead of a credit card number, it is very secure and has been around for 15+ years
  • Both Safeway & Sobeys have commitments to help customers who are blind and partially sighted to shop, to take advantage of this the best plan is to call ahead or go during a down time (middle of the afternoon) and go to customer service to receive help with shopping
  • PC Points – offered through Superstore & Shoppers are a great way to earn free groceries, they have an app that goes on the mobile phone or a physical card, for the most part points are accumulated automatically but it is a good idea to check you received all the points you were entitled to after a shopping trip, this can be done online or through the app
  • In some cities Sobeys has a liquor store and it delivers, we don’t have this yet in Regina but it should be happening soon
  • In some cities Superstore delivers as well so keep an eye our for that option here in the future
  • In some cities (Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, etc.) there is a service called Mrs. Grocery that delivers, keep an eye out for this service coming here

 

Accessible Banking:

  • The main 5 banks have a commitment to accessibility: TD, Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC & Bank of Montreal
    • Because of this they have accessible ATM machines that have a place to plug in headphones so that the banking experience is audible
  • The mom & pop banks (like Conexus, Teachers, Affinity, etc.) do not have the same commitment but they often offer better customer service to help those with needs
  • All banks offer things like RDSPs, RRSPs and TFSAs, the bigger banks may not be as accessible in getting these things as the smaller mom and pop banks are.
    • Both RBC & Scotia have a phone line to help set up RDSPs
  • Some investment companies like Sunlife and Mackenzie group offer RDSPs, TFSAs, RRSPs, etc. and it may be advisable to go with one of these as the financial advisor will often come right tot your home

 

Some other items of note from today’s meeting:

  • The Regina Public Library has 18 Victor Stratus machines for loan, if you would like to borrow one please contact Outreach at the downtown library
  • By 2019  CELA will partner with Book share so even more titles will be available to CELA patrons
  • Sobeys is getting talking prescription labels, to find out more talk to your local Sobeys pharmacist

 

Nest Meeting:

will be Saturday May 26, we will also be meeting in June before our summer hiatus. The topic for the May meeting will be Accessible Games, mostly online, but also physical games will be discussed. We will also be discussing the Access 2 Entertainment card***

 

Connect with us:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTTTechEaseRegina/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/techeasesk

Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk) | Twitter

twitter.com

The latest Tweets from Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk). Are you Visually impaired, Related to someone visually impaired, or an educator of someone visually impaired …

 

 

 

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, NuEyes Smart Glasses, May 9, 2018

GTT National Conference Call.

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

 

May 9, 2018

 

Attendance: 12 participants.

Theme: NuEyes Smart Glasses

 

Rajish from NuEyes Presented about their device:

 

Removable smart glasses, US based California designed for military by two vets.

From 2X to 12X magnification

 

Watch TV, distance and close-up

125 grams, light weight. Looks like ordinary sunglasses.   There is a light that can be turned on and off battery pack can last for up to 14 hours with battery pack.

 

Prescription lenses can be inserted to the glasses.

Wireless Bluetooth remote to zoom and operate the camera and light.

 

3 different nose pieces.

Text to speech OCR, capture the image so the book doesn’t have to be held.  Change the colours and mirror the image for better contrast.

Headphone jack and Charging ports are magnetic.

Does it de-colonize, no.

64 GB of internal storage for photos and text.

Bluetooth speaker or headphones can be used, as there is no built-in speaker on the device.

Glasses will last up to 2 hours if fully charged.

There is a YouTube presentation for this device.

Best for Mac Degen, best for vision of 40/600 or better.

 

OCR happens in milliseconds.

OCR voice can be adjusted, for gender  and fast or slow.

Text size can be adjusted, as well as black on white or white on black.

Remote is about 2 inches and attaches to the finger with a strap.

Verbal commands for increasing and decreasing magnification.  Verbally request the glasses capture the image before you.

Controls on the bottom of the glasses for adjusting magnification.

30 degrees field of view with the glasses.

Auto light adjustment for bright or dark rooms.

NuEyes is primarily a magnification device with OCR features added.

It will magnify or OCR text on a wall like menus.

Firmware upgrades are pushed to the glasses when connected to Wi-Fi.

It can read bar codes as well, only when connected to Wi-Fi.

Scans QR codes, however not yet completely developed yet.

$8,595 CDN

NuEyes is more streamlined and less obtrusive when worn in public.

Funding programs, hoping that funding with loans through the company which will allow for monthly payments.

Not available through ADP in Ontario.

Based in California, and Rajish is in Toronto.

No current resellers in Canada, besides Rajish.

2 year warrantee.

Glasses are tested in harsh conditions and are built by a military contractor.

Android platform, with Facebook, Google Maps, Twitter and YouTube features to come.

Will it be able to install the BeMyEyes app from the Google Play Store? Not yet.

 

GTT National Conference Call Overview

  • GTT National Conference Call is a monthly discussion group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT National Conference Calls promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to present and discuss new and emerging assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, along with questions and answers about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as an email distribution list where assistive technology questions are provided by participants. You may also subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

 

 

GTT North Vancouver, May 27th Meeting Cancelled, Next Meeting on July 29, 2018

Get Together With Technology (GTT) North Vancouver

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with

North Vancouver City Public Library

 

Everyone is welcome to attend and bring your questions, devices and great technology ideas!  Please share this invitation with anyone in the Lower Mainland area who might be interested in attending.

 

Who Should Attend?

Any blind or partially sighted person who is interested in learning how peer mentoring and assistive technology can help you lead more independent lives.

 

GTT North Vancouver Bi-Monthly Meeting:

When: Sunday July 29, 2018 1:15 PM to 3:00 PM

Where: North Vancouver City Library, Third Floor, 120 West 14th Street.

Theme: To Be Announced .

First Hour:

The usual bi-monthly meeting was scheduled for May 27, however has been cancelled in favour of July 29, 2018.  Please let Albert Ruel know of any topics individuals may wish to have considered.  Some suggestions are, iPhone/iPad Calendar or Contacts Apps, or strategies for better dictation using both Siri and the Dictation App.

Second Hour:

During the second hour we will discuss anything else the participants want to bring up in the area of assistive technology.  Bring to the meeting all your other assistive technology questions, nuggets and frustrations for discussion with the group.

 

For more information contact:

Albert Ruel, Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550, or Mobile: 1-250-240-2343, Email: Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

 

 

GTT Atlantic Conference Call, Apple Accessibility, May 23, 2018

Get Together With Technology (GTT) Atlantic Canada

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

You are invited!  Blind and low vision GTT participants meet monthly to learn about and share their experiences using assistive technologies in their daily lives at home, school, or at work.

 

Agenda for the next Atlantic Region Conference Call GTT Meeting:

Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Atlantic Time.

Location: CCB Toll Free Conference Number.

 

Theme: Apple Accessibility

Ed Barns, Kim Kilpatrick and Brian Bibeault will lead a discussion on the many accessible features of Apple products like iPhones/iPads/iPods, as well as Mac computers.  Of course, the focus will be on useability for people who are blind, partially sighted and deafblind.

 

Call-in Information:

1-866-740-1260

Passcode is 5670311#

Smart Phone users can tap on the below number to have the passcode dialed automatically following the toll free number:

1-866-740-1260,5670311#

 

Who Should Attend:

  • Anyone thinking about purchasing their first smart phone, tablet or accessible computer.
  • Those who use iPhones/iPad/iPods and who need to know more about their accessibility features.
  • Any blind or low vision person who is interested in learning how assistive technologies can help them lead more independent lives.
  • Anyone interested in contributing to the future of the Atlantic Region GTT group by sharing ideas for future meetings aimed at discussing other blind or low vision assistive devices.

 

For More Information contact:

Ed Barns edbarnes7@gmail.com; Shane Wheeler gttnewfoundland@gmail.com; Brian Bibeault bibeault@cogeco.ca; Sandra Poirier sandrapoirier@eastlink.ca; Kim Kilpatrick GTTProgram@Gmail.com; Albert Ruel Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net;

 

GTT Atlantic Canada Conference Call Group Overview

  • GTT Atlantic Canada is a group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Atlantic Canada promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with their assistive technology needs.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, and questions and answers about technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

GTT/NOVI Nanaimo, May and June Meetings Cancelled, May 26 and June 23, 2018

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Nanaimo

 

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

Vancouver Island Regional Library, and

No Obstacles for the Vision Impaired (NOVI)

 

Please share this announcement widely to anyone you think will benefit from our collective knowledge.

 

Theme:May and June Meetings Cancelled.

Where:

No Meeting

Date:

May 26 and June 23, 2018

Time:

No Meeting

 

First Hour:

No Meeting during May and June, with the group re-convening on September 22, 2018.  Stay tuned for more information.

Second Hour:

During the second hour we will discuss anything else the participants want to bring up in the area of assistive technology, like “things to do” with Google Home and the potential of hosting a beginner’s Braille Course in Nanaimo.  Bring to the meeting all your other assistive technology questions, nuggets and frustrations for discussion with the group.

 

To RSVP, or for more information:

Contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net.

Check for other meetings on the GTTProgram Blog:

www.GTTProgram.Wordpress.com

 

Backgrounder

 

NOVI Social and Recreational Organization, and the Get Together with Technology group come together to serve the peer mentoring, assistive technology and daily living skills development needs of Nanaimo and area residents.

 

Since 2001 the Nanaimo Organization of the Vision Impaired (NOVI) has served the social and recreational needs of Nanaimo residents, and recently this group altered its name to better reflect the dynamic nature of their brand of mutual support and forward thinking ideas and activities.  It is now known as “No Obstacles for the Vision Impaired” (NOVI), and meets on the first Tuesday of each month at the 710 Club from 1:30 until 3:30 PM.

 

Since 2013 Get Together with Technology (GTT), a program of the Canadian Council of the Blind, has been meeting monthly in Nanaimo to provide opportunities for blind and partially sighted residents to learn more about the assistive technology so prevalent in our lives as we attempt to level the playing field in education, social interaction, recreation and independent living.

 

These two groups have embarked on an amalgamation of their efforts while expanding their support to the blind, deaf-blind and partially sighted residents of the Nanaimo and Parksville areas.  In order to facilitate this collaboration GTT has moved its meetings to align with the Tuesday NOVI gatherings so the two organizations can consolidate their human resources that more and better support may be delivered.

 

  • 1st Tuesday from 1:30 until 3:30 PM, NOVI Social/recreational gathering in Nanaimo lead by Henk Pauelsen.

 

Forth Saturday from 10:00 AM until 12 Noon, GTT Nanaimo and NOVI members will meet at the Vancouver Island Regional Library, Nanaimo Downtown Branch, 90 Commercial Street to discuss access to information issues, assistive technology and anything pertaining to living with, and adjusting to vision loss.  VIRL staff also participate in these Saturday morning meetings to provide information about services and supports available through the Public Library system.

 

NOVI and GTT will retain their independent organizational structures and membership dues, however will work in collaboration on local social activities, learning independence skills and peer mentoring endeavours.

 

For more information please contact:

 

NOVI:

Henk Pauelsen at 250-586-6285 or NOVI-Group@Shaw.ca

Living Without Looking/Independent Living Skills:

Donna Hudon at 250-618-0010 or IAmDonnaHudon@Gmail.com

GTT:

Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343 or GTTWest@CCBNational.nett

 

 

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, MAC vs Windows Computers and iPhone, May 14, 2018

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting May 14, 2018

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held May 14at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

17 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

May Topics –MAC vs. Windows Computers and iPhone

 

MAC vs. Windows PC Discussion

There are several things to keep in mind when you are in the market for a new computer. The following are some considerations:

 

  • What do your friends and/or family use?  These are the people you will turn to for assistance. Are they a Mac or PC user?

 

  • What are you going to use the computer for? Most employers use Windows PC and Microsoft Office.

 

  • Microsoft Office works well on a MAC, too.

 

  • BrailleNote Touch works with both PC and MAC.

 

  • A MAC computer is more expensive than a PC. However, voiceover is built in and if you use a screen reader you do not need the expense of paying for JAWS.

 

  • On the other hand, you can get the NVDA screen reader (by a small donation) and it works with Windows.

 

  • If you are buying a new computer for a specific purpose, e.g. work or school, make sure you have enough time to become proficient with it before you need to use it for that purpose.

 

  • The built-in magnification on Windows is very good and in some respects is better than the magnifying program ZoomText.

 

  • One caution with MAC is that the operating system is colour-based and if you have some vision this can be overwhelming.

 

Russell’s MAC Experience

  • In 2009 Russell bought an iMac. At first, he was frustrated with all the interacting one had to do on the Mac, but after a while, it became second nature.
  • One concern Russell did have with the Mac is that Voiceover, the built-in screen reader on the Mac, did not let the user know when text was formatted in a heading style. This has recently change though, and in High Sierra, the latest Mac OS, and the latest version of Pages, the Apple equivalent of Microsoft Word, VoiceOver does now announce when text is formatted in a heading style.
  • Websites are easy to browse on the Mac with either Safari or Chrome. You can navigate by headings, links, visited links, etc. There is also a “Quick Nav” setting that allows single-letter navigation, so you can navigate a website by headings by pressing just the letter “H”, just as you can do on the Windows side using Jaws or NVDA.
  • Russell said he considers the Mac to be as accessible to a blind person as is Windows but did warn that there was no accessible database program for the Mac so, if a user had need of a database program, the Mac might not be the way to go.
  • Another factor that might prevent someone from purchasing a Mac is that a Mac computer usually costs quite a bit more than a Windows machine. This might be offset a little by the durability of a Mac. Russell purchased his iMac in 2009 and used it for 8 years without much of a noticeable slowdown till the last year.
  • Russell advised that if a blind person was looking to purchase a new computer, they shouldn’t be afraid to purchase a Mac because of accessibility concerns. The main thing is to think about what you will be doing with the computer, how much you are willing to spend, and then go out and try both platforms to see which you like better. If you are currently a Windows user, and plan to move to a Mac, there is quite a steep learning curve, so don’t purchase a Mac a week before beginning University or college courses.

 

Laptop versus Desktop

 

Some things for you to ponder as you decide about buying a laptop or a desktop:

 

  • What will you be using your computer for? If you will be using it mainly for email and web browsing, then a laptop will do. If you will be using your computer constantly, especially in one location, then you should probably get a desktop.

 

  • How much do you want to spend? A desktop priced around $300. – $400. will be about the equivalent of a $1000. laptop.

 

  • The keyboard on a laptop is smaller and may not have a built-in number pad which is necessary for navigating the screen with JAWS.

 

  • It is good to have some separation between the groups of function keys, so you don’t press the wrong ones.

 

  • It is also good to have space around the cursor cross keys, so you can quickly find them.

 

  • If you elect to buy a laptop you can still buy a full-sized keyboard and a large monitor to connect to your laptop.

 

  • When you buy a computer the F1-F12 function keys are often pre-set to special laptop functions.  This is not good for non-mouse users because many Windows functions require the F1-F12 keys (e.g. Alt+F4 to close programs, F2 to rename files etc.). To allow them to behave as normal Windows F1-F12 functions you may need to reset them in the laptop settings or get your vendor to reset them.

 

  • Laptops are more expensive to repair.

 

  • How much will you be moving around?

 

  • Desktops are generally faster although most of us don’t need the speed to do simple computing such as email, browsing, document writing.

 

  • Desktops are becoming smaller – now you can carry around a desktop and plug it into a monitor.

 

  • You can get breakage insurance if you think it is worthwhile.

 

 

iPhone Gestures

Gerry took a small group to demo and discuss iPhone gestures related to the rotor and text entry/editing.

  • The rotor gesture consists of using 2 fingers or 2 thumbs to make a small clockwise or counter clockwise rotating motion on the screen. Each rotation navigates through a contextual menu of options and each of these options has a submenu of choices that can be selected by flicking up or down with one finger.
  • For example, the rotor menu items might be characters, words, headings, speech rate, language and so on. If you were browsing a web page and you rotated to the Heading menu then you would flick up or down with one finger to jump forward or backward to headings on the web page. If you rotated to the Speech Rate menu you would then flick up or down with one finger to speed up or reduce the rate of Voice Over speech.
  • The rotor menu is contextual because the menu items change depending which program you are using.
  • You may add, remove, or reorder items on the rotor menu by going to Settings, then General, then Accessibility, then VoiceOver, then Rotor.
  • The rotor is handy for editing typos in dictated text. For example, suppose you are in the text message app focused on the message text field. Double tap with one finger to start edit mode. Now you can double tap with 2 fingers to start dictation, say your message, then double tap with two fingers once more to end your dictation. Now if you hear that there is a mistake in the dictated text you can correct it with the rotor. Rotate on the screen with 2 fingers until you hear the choice called, Words. Now you can flick up or down with one finger to move forward or backward a word at a time to the incorrect word and tap the delete key to erase one character at a time. You may also rotate to the menu choice called, Characters, to navigate the text by character.

 

Next Meeting (Monday June 11 at 7pm)

  • Huseyn has offered to demonstrate how a blind person can use the iPhone to take pictures and record videos.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

 

Meeting Location and Logistics

  • Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
  • We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
  • Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
  • Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
  • If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

 

GTT Edmonton Overview

  • GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

To subscribe, use the form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

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