Category Archives: Canadian Council of the Blind

GTT Campbell River Summary Notes, VR Stream, January 11, 2018

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together With Technology (GTT) Campbell River

 

Summary Notes

 

Date: January 11, 2017

Time: 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm       Campbell River Library

Attendees: Members of the GTT and/or White Cane Society.  9 people attended.

Chair: Kelvin Adams

Guest Speaker:  Albert Ruel

Summary Notes prepared by: Lori Rodway

 

Theme: Victor Reader Stream and Talking Book Machines

  • Guest Speaker Albert Ruel provided an overview and demonstration of the Victor Reader Stream, which is a portable Talking Book player by Humanware that provides easy access to Direct to Player CELA Services, Bookshare, Podcasts, Internet Radio, Music, Voice Memos, etc. The VR Stream does not currently have Bluetooth capability.
  • Albert noted other similar types of Talking Book players, including Plextalk Pocket (he also has this player and uses it for specific purposes), and the Blaze Reader.
  • Albert discussed the different functions and demonstrated how the VR Stream works to access the different services. This included CELA, where he noted, that users could access and download books directly or have them added to the user’s bookshelf by CELA staff. Podcasts could also be accessed and saved.  There is a search function which allows Podcasts, etc. to be found, for example he searched for Podcasts for the word “Blind”.   There is a file structure within the VR Stream’s SD Card to save/download the various items.  The structure is well defined and it was noted that if a specific file type is put into the wrong folder, the device will not announce it.
  • Internet radio is also available, unfortunately, during the meeting, internet could not be accessed for this function to demonstrate it fully.
  • A “notes” memo function is also available that allows for meetings to be recorded and stored, as well as quick notes like phone numbers and shopping list items. There was also a brief discussion on other research functionality available.
  • It was noted that the Campbell River Library can assist people with access to CELA and other services. Two CR Librarians were introduced including the new Adult Education Coordinator Gillian who sat in on the meeting and she was invited to attend future meetings as well. The CR Library has talking book players for loan if someone wants to try talking books before investing in a player like the VR Stream.
  • The VR Stream uses two types of storage, SD card and onboard storage (2-6 GB) depending on model. Some Files, like Podcasts and Daisy books can be moved from onboard to SD card as needed for storage and future retrieval, etc.
  • Albert noted that it is somewhat trial and error to get used to the buttons and shortcuts, but it becomes easier as you practice, or if you read the Owner’s Manual. One important key command to remember is the long press on the number 1, which will bring focus to the VR Stream Owner’s Manual.  Repeating that key command will close the manual.  Through his demos of the various functions, it showed how the key/buttons can be used to access data, etc.
  • Albert also described the DAISY (Digital Audio Encryption System) which was developed by a World Wide Consortium, and that is used by CELA and many Libraries for the Blind around the world. It allows for books to be accessed by section (page, chapter) etc. allowing users to move directly to a specific starting point.   The VR Stream also picks up at the point where the user left off when that book/file was last accessed.
  • In addition, there was general discussion about GPS technology, and how the latest offering from Humanware has the VR Stream and Trekker Breeze combined into one device called the Victor Reader Trek. The VR Stream is still sold as a stand-alone unit. Albert noted how much freedom comes from the use of some of these GPS and talking book devices, as when a blind person is walking or traveling they can use the GPS apps to know their exact location by street name, and they can listen to a book while on route. Typically, accessible GPS apps and devices offer more detailed information than GPS systems such as Google Maps, but might use a lot of storage or cellular data when installed and used.

 

For more information:

Kelvin Adams Kelzar@Hotmail.com or 250-895-9835

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

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.

 

The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

 

 

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

Email: info@ccbnational.net URL: www.ccbnational.nett

 

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GTT Chilliwack Meeting Invitation, Google Home and Amazon Echo, January 22, 2018

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

 

Get Together With Technology (GTT) Chilliwack

 

You are invited to the next session of the Chilliwack GTT group, a group dedicated to the learning and sharing of information about assistive technology useful for those living with low vision, blindness or deaf-blindness.

 

Theme: Google Home and Amazon Echo

When: Monday January 22, 2018

1:30-3:30 p.m.

Where: Chilliwack Public Library

45860 First Avenue, Chilliwack

 

First Hour: Ginny will demo the Google Home and show some videos on the Amazon Echo.

Second Hour: Following a break we will open a Get Together with Technology (GTT) discussion about what devices we might be having trouble with, or those great new gadgets we’ve recently discovered that we might want to show-off.

 

For more information contact:

Ginny @ (604) 378-9676

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).

The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments.  CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.

CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.

 

The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.

The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues.  For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.

As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.

 

 

CCB National Office

100-20 James Street Ottawa ON  K2P 0T6

Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968 Email: info@ccbnational.net URL: www.ccbnational.net

 

 

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, Accessibility Features of Windows 10 and the iPhone, January 8, 2018

            Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting January 8, 2018

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held January 8 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

24 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.

 

January Topic –Accessibility Primers for Windows10 and iPhone

 

Windows 10 Accessibility Primer

 

Following is Carrie’s summary of the Windows10 accessibility primer she, Lyle, and Lorne presented to the main group. There are also links to other resources so you can research more commands and tools. The commands provided are for Windows 10. The resource links provided take you to the Microsoft pages where you can choose the version of Windows you are using.

 

Windows Shortcut Keys

Learning Windows Shortcut Keys is important to be Efficient: More about Windows Shortcut Keys https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12445

 

Windows Ease of Access Center

This is where all Accessibility related settings can be adjusted.

. TO DO THIS PRESS THIS
Open the Ease of Access Center Windows logo key + U

Scaling

This is a setting that adjusts the size and clarity of most items on your screen. The default is 125% but you can also customize it to what you want. Adjusting this to higher settings does require more scrolling of windows. Icons are larger, and text is larger without the stepping pixelating that often happens with magnifying things.

 

Right click anywhere on the desktop

Go to display settings

Scaling and Layout appear in the middle of the screen.

 

Magnifier

Magnifier allows you to enlarge the entire screen or sections of it. There are 3 viewing modes including full, lens, and docked. Magnifier’s application toolbar appears in the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen. It may also hover a magnifying glass on your screen. Click it and see the tools like plus, minus, zoom percentage, View, and a gear for settings.

TO DO THIS PRESS THIS
Turn Magnifier on Windows logo key + Plus (+)  
Turn Magnifier off Windows logo key  + Esc  
When Magnifier is on, zoom in or out Windows logo key  + Plus (+) or Minus (-)  
Zoom in and out using the mouse scroll wheel Ctrl + Alt + mouse scroll wheel  
Open Magnifier settings Windows logo key  + Ctrl + M  
Pan in the direction of the arrow keys Ctrl + Alt + arrow keys  
Invert colors Ctrl + Alt + I  
Switch to full screen view Ctrl + Alt + F  
Switch to lens view Ctrl + Alt + L  
Switch to docked view Ctrl + Alt + D  
Cycle through views Ctrl + Alt + M  
Resize the lens with the mouse Ctrl + Alt + R  
Resize the lens with the keyboard Shift + Alt + arrow keys  
Quickly see the entire desktop when using full screen view Ctrl + Alt + Spacebar  

More About Magnifier   https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/11542/windows-use-magnifier

 

Mouse Enhancements

As one of the hardest things to find as a visually impaired person, the Pointer’s Size and Color often makes the difference in its visibility.

Also, if you can find your Mouse Settings in Control panel, you can adjust more mouse shapes and effects like pointer trails.

Go to Start Button

Type Control Panel

IN Search type Mouse

Then the mouse panel appears and you can choose to change the look of the mouse, how it looks when moving, and more.

More on adjusting your mouse settings https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/14206/windows-7-change-mouse-settings

 

Cursor Thickness

In the Ease of Access Center, “Other Options” you can change the thickness of the typing cursor by using a horizontal left/right slider from a blinking vertical line to a thick blinking box. This makes finding where your cursor is much easier.

Color & High Contrast

There are many ways to change color of THE screens in Windows.

Magnifier’s invert color

Windows color filters – especially useful if someone has color blindness

Windows Themes – is a quick way to adjust all colors in every application for text, hyperlinks, buttons and active or inactive items.

I find that using a Windows Theme presents the best diversity of color especially high contrast. However, the possibility of losing information that is only represented by color is there. Take for example a web page that is not coded for accessibility may eliminate colored items if a theme is enforced. You will need to be the judge of your own experience. For working with text and email Themes work great. For someone who is always on the web and uses cues from images and color, themes won’t work well.

Use invert colors of Magnifier or similarly the Color & High Contrast Invert setting. Keep in mind certain colors have hard to read inversions like organize and green. Yellow’s invert is blue. White is black.

TO DO THIS PRESS THIS
Turn your High Contrast Theme on or off press Left Alt + left Shift + Print Screen
Turn your color filter on or off press Windows logo key  + Ctrl + C

Text to Speech to Read What is Magnified

There is a built-in screen reader called Narrator which I’ll mention later. For those of us who just want reading in MS Office documents there is a Speech feature you can activate. It reads aloud any text you select in the document. It can be activated by keyboard shortcut or a button in the Quick Access Toolbar at the top of the application. This feature is available in Microsoft Office 2013, 2016 and of course Office365.

Narrator

Narrator is a full-blown screen reading application that does just that, it reads the screen. Again, keyboard shortcuts are handy in controlling and navigating documents.

Narrator has a setting panel that allows you to customize the way narrator acts such as voice, cursor and pointer following. Narrator also lets you “highlight the cursor” which is where it is reading, a red box appears around where Narrator is reading. This is useful when I am trying to hover my mouse over text I want read.

On many keyboards, the Windows logo key is located on the bottom row of keys, to the left or right of the Alt key.

TO DO THIS PRESS THIS
Open Narrator settings Windows logo key  + Ctrl + N
Turn Narrator On or Off Windows logo key + Ctrl + Enter for Windows 10

Windows Logo Key  + Enter for Windows 7/8

 

More on Getting Started with Narrator https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22798

There are several ways to read text using Narrator. The first and simplest way is to use the arrow keys to navigate text if you’re interacting with a document in a word processor, such as Microsoft Word.

If an app doesn’t support text reading commands, Narrator will say “not on explorable text.” In this case, use Scan Mode to navigate and read text. While in scan mode you need to listen for Narrator saying scan on or scan off, otherwise, the letters or arrow keys you use are actually moving in your document.

Move to the next or previous word

TO DO THIS PRESS THIS
Turn Scan Mode On or Off Caps lock + Spacebar.
Read by paragraph in scan mode Up and Down arrow keys
Read by character Left and Right arrow keys
To activate an item that you want to use, such as a button in an app, a link in a webpage, or a text box Press the spacebar
Move to the start or end of a line of text in an app or webpage Home and End
Move to the beginning or end of text Ctrl + Home and Ctrl + End
Move to the next or previous word Ctrl + Left arrow and Ctrl + Right arrow
Move to the next or previous line Ctrl + Up arrow and Ctrl + Down arrow

 

To learn more about Scan Mode. https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/22809/windows-10-narrator-using-scan-mode

Speech Recognition

A great feature for dictating to the computer as well as in documents. The trick to anyone using speech recognition software is to recognize when mistakes are made. You can open programs, control menus, click buttons and dictate text.  First be in a quiet environment with a microphone connected to your computer.  At the start menu type Speech Recognition or just speech and it will appear in the Start Menu.

More about Speech Recognition Carrie, Lyle, Lorne Facilitated a Windows10 Primer

 

Russell – One on One Training in Windows 10 with JAWS

Russell worked with a couple of young members, Owais and Eric, helping with Jaws and Voiceover. Some of the topics covered were changing the Jaws PC and Jaws cursor voices, creating shortcut keys to websites like Gmail to make it easier to access webmail, accessing help in both the Windows and Mac environments, and basic navigation.

 

Gerry – iPhone Accessibility Primer

Gerry demonstrated to a small subgroup the basic gestures to navigate iPhone apps using the built-in VoiceOver screen reader. The following table lists only 12 gestures that allow you to do almost everything on an iPhone without being able to see the screen.

Use this Gesture To DO This
Single finger touch Select the item under your finger. VoiceOver will announce it.
Single finger double tap anywhere on the screen Activate the selected item
Single finger flick left or right. Move to previous/next item.
Single finger flick up or down Move to previous/next item using rotor setting.
Two finger rotate left or right. Select previous/next rotor setting.
Two finger double tap Start and stop the current action such as answering or hanging up a phone call, playing/pausing music, or video, sstart and stop the timer etc.
Two finger flick up Read page starting at the top.
Two finger flick down Start reading at selected item to end of screen.
Three finger flick left Scroll right one page.
Three finger flick right Scroll left one page.
Three finger flick down Scroll up one page.
Three finger flick up Scroll down one page.

 

Under Settings/General/Accessibility/VoiceOver there is a gesture practice screen. Perform any gesture on this practice screen and VoiceOver will confirm your gesture and explain what it does. Double tap the Done button in the top right of the practice screen to close it.

 

Note that these gestures work only when VoiceOver is turned on. Sighted people who might share your phone use different gestures. The phone will not respond to the gestures sighted people are accustomed to unless you turn off VoiceOver.

 

Next Meeting (Monday February 12at 7pm)

  • The current plan is to continue the popular sessions about accessibility features native to Windows10 and the iPhone.
  • 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/

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]

Resource: How to Read Text Using Headings with a Screen Reader

How to Use Headings

Taken from:

http://www.washington.edu/accessibility/documents/word/

 

Using good heading structure helps people without eyesight to understand how the document is organized. Screen reader and Braille users can also jump between headings, which makes navigation much more efficient than if there are no headings.

 

Making text larger and bold does not make it a heading. In order to convert text to a heading in Microsoft Word, you must use the built-in Heading styles like “Heading 1” and “Heading 2”, available under Styles in the Home tab of the Ribbon in Office versions 2010 and higher.

 

Headings should form an outline, using the “Heading 1” style for the main heading, and “Heading 2” for sub-headings. If there are additional levels of headings within the document’s outline, using “Heading 3”, “Heading 4”, etc.

End of quoted text.

 

Instructions Written by Albert Ruel:

To create section headings in your documents, do the following:

  1. Highlight the text you wish to turn into a Heading. Note, the entire paragraph will be turned into a Heading if the text you wish to use isn’t on its own line. For example: The Contacts Section of a document might be created as follows;

For more information contact:

Sally, Sue, Bill or Jack at 1-888-555-1234.

If the names of the individuals were left on the same line as the Heading, it too would have been marked as a Level 1 Heading.  For screen reader users it is cumbersome to hear an entire paragraph read as a Heading, so keep those bits of text short.

To create a level 1 Heading with the selected text, hold down the Alt and Control keys and press the number 1 on the number row. Conversely, levels 2 and 3 can be created as above, and Levels 4, 5 and 6 Headings can only be created by accessing the Styles Sheet in the Ribbons.

 

To access Headings when reading text with a screen reader:

  1. To list all the Headings in a document or email message, hold down the Insert key while pressing the F6 key.
  2. Arrow through the list to read each Heading, or use First Letter command to locate a specific Heading. Note, your screen reader will announce after each Heading the corresponding number of the Heading.
  3. Press the Enter key on the Heading you wish to access and your cursor will be placed at that location within the document, web page or email message.

 

Using the letter H for accessing Headings in MS Word:

  1. Hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys on. This action takes you out of edit mode and allows you to press the letter H to move from one Heading to the next, or Shift H to move backward from Heading to Heading.
  2. Once you have located the desired Heading and want to return to edit mode you will hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z again to turn Quick Keys off.

*Note: pressing the letter H will navigate all the Headings in a document in the order they appear, and using Shift H will have you accessing them in reverse order.

 

An additional means of accessing Headings:

  1. To access the Level 1 Headings, press the number 1 on the number row. This will take you to the first occurrence of a Level 1 Heading, and pressing it again will take you to the next occurrence. Shift number 1 will move the cursor backward through the Level 1 Headings.
  2. Once a Level 1 Heading is located, pressing the number 2 on the number row will have the cursor landing on the first Level 2 Heading found below that Level 1 Heading.
  3. Once the desired section of a Web Page, MS Word document or Email message is found, you can press your down arrow keys to read the text found below that Heading.
  4. If the desired Heading is also marked as a Link, pressing the Enter key will activate the Link.

*Note: Don’t forget to hold down the Insert key while pressing the letter Z to turn Quick Keys off and return to edit mode.  Quick Keys is only needed in MS Word or when creating an Outlook email message.  It is not needed on the web or when reading an email message because edit mode is not turned on when doing those functions.

 

 

Northern Ontario and Rural GTT teleconference call Meeting Invitation, Google Home and Amazon Echo, January 18, 2018

Meeting Invitation

 

Northern Ontario and Rural GTT Conference Call

 

January 18, 2018

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

*Note: 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.

 

Hello everyone,

Welcome back.  I hope you had a good holiday.  All the best in the New Year.

Our next Northern Ontario and Rural GTT teleconference call will take place on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

 

Date and Time:

Thursday, January 18, 2018 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm

Theme:

Amazon Echo and Google Home – what they are, how they work, how to set them up, etc.  The speaker is Lorne Neufeldt from CCB National.

 

The call in information is as follows:

1-866-740-1260

Access Code 5670311

 

Smart Phone users just tap on the below number and have the code dialed for you as well.

1-866-740-1260,5670311#

 

I look forward to hearing you on the call.

 

For more information contact:

Dorothy Macnaughton rmacnaug@sympatico.ca or Kim Kilpatrick GTTProgram@Gmail.com

 

Northern Ontario and Rural GTT Conference Call Group Overview

  • The Northern Ontario and Rural GTT Conference Call Group is an initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • The Group promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, as well as a question and answer session about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend each conference call 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 Toronto Meeting Invitation, Accessibility of Android Phones and Tablets, January 18, 2018

Meeting Invitation

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

January 18, 2018

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with CNIB

 

*Note: 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.

 

Hey Everyone!

The next ‘Get Together with Technology’ GTT Toronto adaptive technology user group meeting will be held on Thursday, January 18 at the CNIB community Hub at 1525 Yonge St.

 

The Date & Time:

Thursday, January 18, 6:00 PM til 8:00 PM

The Place:

CNIB community Hub at 1525 Yonge St.

The topic:

The topic will be a discussion of the accessibility of Android, presented by Shane Laurnitus.

 

As usual, light refreshments will be served.

And don’t forget, you can get the notes from our past meetings at https://www.gtt-toronto.ca/.

 

So, bring your adaptive technology, and your questions, and join the GTT Toronto adaptive technology user group!

 

For more info contact GTT Toronto through,

GTT Toronto Web Site

 

To visit GTT Toronto’s web page for meeting announcements and summary notes visit this link.

 

Date and Location:

  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are Usually held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto 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/

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

 

GTT New Westminster/Vancouver Meeting Invitation, Google Home and Amazon Echo Smart Speakers, January 16 and February 3, 2018

Get Together With Technology (GTT) New Westminster/Vancouver!

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

in partnership with

Blind Beginnings

And

Vancouver Community College

 

People who are blind or partially sighted of all ages are invited to “Save the Dates” for these two January sessions of the GTT Vancouver and New Westminster meetings where the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers will be demonstrated and discussed.

 

January/February 2018 Theme:

The era of modern smart assistants is just beginning with several new options being released daily, or at least weekly for most Smart Speakers currently on the market.  Join GTT New Westminster and Vancouver for discussions and demonstrations of the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, presented by Matthew Alvernez, Clement Chou and Monty Lilburn.

 

Who Should Attend?

  • People who would like to know about Smart Speakers that are always-on assistants designed to listen for commands from you or others in your home.
  • People who want hands-free options to set timers, read recipes, or call for reservations with little effort
  • People interested in learning about how Smart Speakers harness the power of a variety of smart home devices, allowing you to control lights, outlets, thermostats, and other household items using your voice.
  • People who enjoy working through Siri on their iPhone or are looking for an easy way to accomplish everyday tasks, these devices may well be worth a look.
  • People who want peer assistance with other assistive technology

 

GTT New Westminster:

Date & Time: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Where: Blind Beginnings Office, 227 6th Street, New Westminster

 

GTT Vancouver:

Date and Time: Saturday, February 3, 2018 from 10AM to 12Noon

Where: Vancouver Community College, Broadway campus – Room 2501 Building A 1155 East Broadway

 

Hour one:

A discussion and demonstration of the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, presented by Matthew Alvernez, Clement Chou and Monty Lilburn.

 

Hour two:

The second half of the meeting will include an opportunity to seek tech advice from those with more knowledge.  Please bring the device you want assistance with.

 

For more information contact either Shawn Marsolais or Albert Ruel:

shawn@blindbeginnings.ca or 604-434-7243.

Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net or 250-240-2343

 

What is GTT?

 

An opportunity for individuals who are blind or partially sighted to get together and

  • Share how they are using assistive technology for work, school, and in their daily lives
  • Learn from others who are using different assistive technology
  • Request information on new technology
  • Mentor and support each other

 

You’re invited, and encouraged to circulate this invitation widely to your circle of friends, colleagues and family who have an interest in peer support in the area of assistive technology.

 

For more information about GTT contact:

Shawn Marsolais                  Albert Ruel

Shawn@BlindBeginnings.ca         Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net

604-434-7243                        1-877-304-0968 Ext. 550

 

 

CCB-GTT Top Ten iOS Apps for 2017 with Long Descriptions 2018Jan05

The Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

Top Ten iDevice Apps of 2017 With Long Descriptions

 

Here are the Top Ten iDevice Apps of 2017 as surveyed late in the year through the GTTProgram Blog, GTTSupport Email List and GTTProgram Facebook Group participants.  This was not a scientific survey, so might be considered by some to be a “Fake List”.  Be that as it may, your friendly GTT Group has likely had a hand in the results, and all of you are encouraged to submit your favourites for the 2018 list as we roll into November/December.  In order to do so, please stay in touch and participate with GTT groups where ever they gather throughout 2018 by following us at,

www.GTTProgram.WordPress.com.

 

Of course, none of the below apps are usable by blind, deaf-blind or partially sighted iDevice users if the screen reader (Voice Over) and/or magnifier (Zoom) apps aren’t mastered first.

 

The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers free access to a series of videos called iFocus, which provides independent tutorials for learning the accessibility features of Voice Over and Zoom.

https://www.hadley.edu/InstructionalVideos.asp

 

Listed according to the votes submitted:

Top 10 iDevice Apps:

1. Seeing AI, a free app By Microsoft Corporation.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/seeing-ai/id999062298?mt=8

Seeing AI is a free app that narrates the world around you. Designed for the blind and low vision community, this ongoing research project harnesses the power of AI to open up the visual world and describe nearby people, text and objects.

 

Optimized for use with VoiceOver, the app enables you to recognize:

  • Short Text – Speaks text as soon as it appears in front of the camera.
  • Documents – Provides audio guidance to capture a printed page, and recognizes the text, along with its original formatting.
  • Products – Scans barcodes, using audio beeps to guide you; hear the name, and package information when available. (works with iPhone 6 and later)
  • People – Saves people’s faces so you can recognize them, and get an estimate of their age, gender, and emotions.
  • Scenes (early preview) – Hear an overall description of the scene captured.
  • Currency – Recognizes currency notes. (Requires iOS 11)
  • Color – Identifies color.
  • Handwriting – Reads handwritten text like in greeting cards
  • Light – Generates an audible tone corresponding to the brightness in the surroundings.
  • Images in other apps – Just tap “Share” and “Recognize with Seeing AI” to describe images from Mail, Photos, Twitter, and more.

 

Seeing AI is built to help you achieve more by leveraging the power of the cloud and artificial intelligence. As the research progresses, more channels may be added.

2. Native iOS Mail, a free email client built into every Apple device.

Mail (also known as Apple Mail or Mail.app) is an email client  included with the operating systems macOS, iOS  and watchOS  by Apple Inc.  Originally developed by NeXT  As NeXTMail, a part of their NeXTSTEP  operating system, it eventually became Mail after Apple’s acquisition of NeXT.

3. Voice Dream Reader, a paid app By Voice Dream LLC.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/voice-dream-reader/id496177674?mt=8

Featured as Best New App in 81 countries including the United States and Apple App Store Permanent Collections in Education.

 

“This app is one of the best educational finds of my entire career.” – Forbes

 

“As a user myself and as a mother of a child with dyslexia, I am blown away by the features of Voice Dream.” – Quartz

 

“Voice Dream Reader is hailed by many as the best mobile text-to-speech (TTS) app.” – Examiner

 

Supported Document Formats

– PDF, Plain text, MS Word, MS PowerPoint, RTF, and Google Docs.

– Web articles.

– EPUB eBooks. (DRM-free books only. Kindle and iBooks are not supported.)

– Bookshare Books.

– DAISY text-based books and audiobook.

– Audiobooks in MP3, MP4 or zipped MP3 format.

– Experimental rich text and image support for all documents.

 

Text-to-Speech

– One premium Acapela voice of your choice free with the purchase of the app.

– 36 built-in iOS voices in 27 languages are also available for free.

– 200+ additional premium voices in 30 languages from Acapela, NeoSpeech and Ivona available through in-app purchases.

– Correct pronunciation with your own pronunciation dictionary.

– All voices work offline and play in the background even with the screen locked.

 

Reading Styles

– Tee-up a list of articles and play while you drive, walk or run.

– Spoken word is highlighted to improve comprehension and retention.

– Auto-scrolling and full screen, distraction-free mode to help reader focus.

– Finger reading. For beginners to read by at running a finger under each word.

– Pac-Man. Harvard and MIT developed speed-reading method for everyone to read at 2x speed with no loss of comprehension.

– High contrast and large font size for low vision readers.

– Optimized for VoiceOver, Braille and switch control.

4. Nearby Explorer, a paid GPS app By American Printing House for the Blind (APH).

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/nearby-explorer/id1095698497?mt=8

Nearby Explorer is a full featured GPS app designed for use by people who are blind. Instead of just providing directions, it describes the environment in ways comparable to reading signage or observing road characteristics.

 

It uses onboard maps, so a data connection is not required, but if you have one, Nearby Explorer supplements the on board map data with crowd collected locations from Foursquare or Google Places. It includes complete maps for the United States and Canada which contain millions of points of interest. The onboard maps are over 4GB in size, so be sure the device you plan to use has enough available space before purchasing.

 

Nearby Explorer works with any device running iOS version 9 or later, but if the device does not contain its own GPS receiver, like most iPads and iPods, you must use an external GPS receiver. All iPhones contain GPS receivers.

 

Nearby Explorer works by letting you select from several different location related options about what to announce as you move. These include both typical items like street name and address and specialized options like approaching streets, intersection configurations, and nearby places and the distance and direction to them. (All announcements are optional.) All of this information is shown on the home screen and is available at any time, but typical use is to adjust the level of announcements, then lock the screen and put the device away. This keeps both hands free and let’s your preferred voice speak the characteristics of the environment as you move.

 

You may also use the devices position and orientation to obtain additional targeted details such as pointing the end of the device to scan for businesses, even in a moving vehicle, or tilting it vertically to function as a compass, including a listing of streets in the indicated direction. This all works with the device locked, so one need not fuss with the touch screen while moving. You may even mark a point, then use the position of the device to get haptic feedback about that point’s location.

 

Nearby Explorer includes a transit feature that provides detailed mass transit schedules for over 60 metropolitan areas in the U. S. and Canada. It treats transit stops just like favorites and points of interest by announcing their name and relative position as you move, but in addition, transit stops add next vehicle stop time, direction of travel, and route name to the announcements. You can use the transit schedules to look up times or even follow a route.

 

You may virtually move to any area in the U.S. or Canada and explore the road network, search, or use the transit maps for that area.

 

For complete details about Nearby Explorer, see http://tech.aph.org/ne

5. TuneIn Radio, a free app By TuneIn.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/tunein-radio/id418987775?mt=8

Listen to your favorite radio stations for free with TuneIn Radio. With over 100,000 radio stations, TuneIn has the largest selection of sports, news, music and talk radio from around the world.

 

With the free TuneIn Radio app:

-Stream real radio stations from around the world live.

-Listen to your favorite talk shows and podcasts live and on demand.

-Enjoy live coverage of sporting events, concerts and more.

 

Get even more with TuneIn Premium.

-Get live play-by-play from every MLB, NFL and BPL game, all season long.

-Let your imagination run wild with access to a library of over 40,000 audiobooks.

-Enjoy exclusive access to over 600 commercial-free music stations

-No banner ads!

 

Listen Anywhere:

-Enjoy TuneIn anywhere you go with Apple Watch.

-Try out TuneIn for CarPlay when you’re on the go.

-Enjoy TuneIn Radio at home with your Google Chromecast.

6. Native iOS Reminders, a free app built into every Apple device.

Reminders is a pretty great “getting started” app for those new to to-dos. You can use Reminders to make shopping lists or packing lists or to keep work and home organized. You can set reminders for specific times or specific locations, so you can remember to take medication when you need to, and stop by the store when you leave the office.

7. Transit, a free app By Transit App, Inc.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/transit-bus-train-times/id498151501?mt=8

“You won’t realize how much time you can save planning until you use this app” – LA Times

“Killer app” – WSJ

“MBTA has a favorite transit app — and it’s called Transit” – Boston Globe

 

Transit is your real-time urban travel companion. Navigate your city’s public transit system with accurate real-time predictions, simple trip planning, step-by-step navigation, service disruption notifications, and departure and stop reminders… all presented in a clear, bold interface. Public transport not cooperating? Easily request an Uber, reserve a car2go, or grab the closest bike share.

 

10 GREAT THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH TRANSIT:

1) See real-time arrivals for nearby buses and trains instantly upon launch.

2) Watch your transit vehicle approaching on a map in real-time*

3) Compare options with powerful A to B trip plans using real-time data.

4) Launch GO for step-by-step navigation when you’re on an unfamiliar route or want to nap/read/space out.*

5) Receive departure alarms and stop notifications as well as prompts to pick up the pace in GO.*

6) Get push notifications if service disruptions will affect your commute.

7) View transit schedules and route itineraries—even when you’re offline!

8) Locate bike share stations, see the number of bikes available, pay for passes, and unlock bikes (in select cities).

9) Check ETA (and surge) for nearby Ubers, and book in two taps.

10) View availability and book cars with car2go and other local car-share services.

8. VO Calendar, a paid app By Devista B.V.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/vo-calendar/id508386832?mt=8

NOTE: Can only be used together with VoiceOver (for blind and partially sighted people).

 

VO Calendar is a weekly calendar specifically designed to be used with VoiceOver.

 

The result of this VoiceOver-only design is not only a smoother navigation through the app. It also makes it possible for the VoiceOver speech to give smart summaries depending on the context. This prevents you from having to go through each event Individually.

 

Existing events are automatically synchronized. If you prefer not to type, you can record voice memos instead.

 

You can use VO Calendar with the VoiceOver gestures you are used to.

 

However, there is an even faster way. With the screen being split into two halves you can scan the right half of the screen with your right thumb. A single tap with your left thumb then is enough to activate the concerning function. After getting used to you will find out this helps you to browse through your calendar even quicker.

 

The left bottom always contains the ‘Return’ button so you can still reach it with your right thumb (being an L-shaped layout). At the top left you can always find a summary of the current screen content. In case you are left-handed you can swap left and right.

 

Note: If you have multiple calendars configured, VO Calendar will show all concerning events. New events will be assigned to your iPhone’s default calendar. Change the default calendar in: Settings > Mail, Contacts, Calendars > Default Calendar.

 

VO Calendar is developed in cooperation with Royal Dutch Visio, Centre of Expertise for blind and partially sighted people (www.visio.org).

9. Bank, free apps by a variety of Canadian Banks.  IE., TD Canada by TD.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/td-canada/id358790776?mt=8

The TD app for iOS provides quick, easy, secure access to your TD chequing, savings, credit, and investment accounts. By clicking “Get”, you consent to the installation of the TD app provided by the TD Bank Group* and to any future updates/upgrades. You are also acknowledging that you understand that the TD app and any future updates/upgrades will/may perform the function described below. You may withdraw your consent at any time by deleting or uninstalling this app.

 

The TD app is free to download, however standard wireless carrier message and data rates may apply.

 

BANKING BENEFITS

  • Get fast access to our most-used banking functions with Quick Links, and check account and Rewards balances without logging in by using Quick Access.
  • Make TD Credit Card Account payments in fewer steps and use your Rewards to help pay down your balance.
  • Send, request and receive money with INTERAC e-Transfer®.
  • Make Canadian and submit U.S. bill payments. (Subject to eligibility requirements and applicable fees. Foreign exchange costs may also apply. Customer must register for the U.S. Bill Pay Service and set up payees in EasyWeb first. A U.S. dollar cheque will be mailed to the payee.)
  • Access your personal banking and investing information from your Apple Watch.
  • Keep track of your spending and receive real time notifications with the TD MySpend companion app.
  • With TD for Me you can receive branch information, local events, offers, tips and reminders.

 

INVESTMENT ADVANTAGES

The TD app allows you to monitor the market, research investment ideas, and trade everything from stocks to options wherever you are!

 

  • Act quickly on market opportunities – trade stocks, ETFs, options and multi-leg options, as well as mutual fund while on the go.
  • Help protect your portfolio from market loss with stop orders.
  • Stay on top of your investments with real-time holdings, balances, orders and activity.
  • Keep tabs on your favourite securities with watchlists, now synced with WebBroker.
  • Set mobile push notifications to receive real-time price alerts for stocks, ETFs and mutual funds.
  • Make informed investment decisions with comprehensive real-time quotes and advanced charting with technical indicators available in the landscape mode.

10. CBC Radio/News, free apps by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/cbc-radio/id325946767?mt=8

Listen to your favourite CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio programs and podcasts on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch. Enjoy Radio One and Radio 2 live streams, as well as more than 80 of CBC Radio’s most popular programs and podcasts on demand. Listen to our featured stories, curated for you every day. Browse through 12 categories, including News, Politics and Comedy. Check out archived episodes, save and download your audio for later listening. Build a playlist of your favourite clips and play them beginning to end. Sort by episode or segment. Find the local frequency for your favourite CBC Radio broadcast channel, and see what’s playing on any CBC Radio network. The CBC Radio app allows for in-app search, which allows you to search for any CBC Radio One audio from 2013 to the present. You can also continue switching to a different device and pick up your listening where you left off.

 

Respectfully submitted on January 5, 2018 by,

 

Albert A. Ruel, GTT Coordinator

 

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

Albert Ruel                   or                               Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                           1-877-304-0968,513

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                       GTTProgram@Gmail.com