Category Archives: dictation

CCB-GTT New Westminster Summary Notes, Using the Safari Web Browser on iDevices, April 19, 2017

Get Together with Technology (GTT)
New Westminster Meeting

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind in partnership with Blind Beginnings

Summary Notes
April 19, 2017

Present: Shawn, Albert, Peg, Mary, John, Carol, Pat, Fay, Louise and Kiyo

Safari is the native Web browser on iPhones/iPads/iPods and Mac computers.
A web browser is used for accessing web pages on the Internet.
It is the Apple equivalent to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
You can download Firefox or Google Chrome on your iDevice but Safari will always be the default browser.
Unlike with the Microsoft Windows platform, you can’t change the default web browser on iDevices.
The Safari icon is usually found in the Doc at the bottom of your phone, however it can be moved to other locations on the Home Screen.
When you open/launch Safari it will open to the last site you visited, not a default homepage like can be established in PC web browsers.
To type/dictate a new web site or a search string you will find the Address bar at the top of the page, and you can conduct a one finger double tap to bring focus to it.
Once you are focussed on the Address Bar you can type/dictate the direct address of the site you want to visit, or you can type/dictate key words to conduct a web search.
Once you type/dictate the relevant text, conduct a one finger double tap on the “Go or Search” icon in the bottom right corner of the device to activate the search.
If you want to copy the URL of the web page you are on, conduct a one finger double tap on the Address Bar and the text contained therein will be highlighted. Activate the Share Button on the Safari Doc and one finger swipe right to find the Copy Button, then one finger double Tap it and a copy of the URL will be moved to the clipboard ready for pasting where ever you need it.


One Finger Double Tap;
The one finger double tap activates/launches/selects/opens items.
To activate the Play Button in any audio player or on YouTube you must conduct a one finger double tap on the button. Once the audio is playing the Magic Tap will pause/resume playing. If ever you find that music or your audio book starts playing without you tapping the relevant button, you may have accidently conducted a Magic Tap, so repeat the action and it will pause the audio again.
To activate an Edit Field you must conduct a one finger double tap, then you will be able to type/dictate.
When VoiceOver says that Actions are available it means you have options and you can flick up and down with one finger to hear the options.

Magic Tap;
The Two finger double tap is called the “Magic Tap” because you can use it for many things including dictating, turning off or on music or audio books, or answering or hanging up a phone.
You must be in the edit field and in edit mode in order for the two finger double tap gesture to open the microphone so that you can dictate.
You must be outside of the edit fields in order to have the two finger double tap answer/hang-up the phone or play/pause audio.

Siri and dictation are related, but not the same. Siri gives you very little time to dictate your request/instructions before she thinks you are finished, and Dictation allows you time to stop and think during dictation.

Activate the Rotor by placing two fingers on the screen and turning them as if you were turning a radio knob. Ensure your fingers aren’t too close together or it will think it is just one finger.
Use your rotor to select characters, words, lines, headings, links, etc.
Once a Rotor item is selected, the one finger flick up and down moves the focus point forward or back by the selected movement unit, like, characters, words, lines, headings, links, etc.
Once you land on an actionable item the one finger double tap will activate/select the item.
The one finger flick up takes the focus to the beginning of the character/word/line, and the one finger flick down takes the focus to the back of the character/word/line. This is important for Back Spacing over text you want to delete.

Two finger flick up or down;
The Two finger flick down will start VoiceOver reading from where the focus is.
The Two finger flick up will send the cursor to the top of the screen/page and start VoiceOver reading from there.

Google Operators:
Put quotation marks around multiple words that should appear in specific order that you are looking for, for example, “Joe Bloe” so that only Joe Bloe will show up in the results. Otherwise, all the Joe’s and all the Bloe’s will show up.
Add a plus sign after the search string to add two things together in a search term, for example if you are looking for Joe Bloe in Vancouver you would do the following:
“Joe Bloe” +Vancouver
You can also use a minus symbol to exclude something in a search term, for example, if you are looking for Joe Bloe and don’t want the Vancouver one to show up you would replace the above + sign with a minus sign, and all Joe Bloe’s outside of Vancouver should appear.
If your initial search term is too generic you may get too many results, so try to be really specific in your search terms.

Two finger scrub;
At the top left corner is a back button that takes you back to the screen you were at before, including lists of email messages, Contact profiles, web pages or Twitter/Facebook posts.
The Two finger scrub like the print letter Z done quickly is attached to the Back Button and will also usually take you back to the screen you were on before.

Saving Favourites;
You can save a site to your favourites by selecting the Share Button on the Safari Doc at the bottom of all web pages you will visit. It is found just above the home button at the bottom of the screen.
Swiping through the list of options you will find several actionable items including air drop which allows you to share with someone in the room who also has an iDevice, message – allows you to send the link to the site to somebody else through text, mail – allows you to Email somebody the link, notes allows you to save it in a note, Twitter/Facebook – allows you to post to those social media sites, add to favourites – allows you to include that page to a list of your favourites, add bookmark – sets a bookmark in the Bookmarks list, add to reading list – allows you to access it without being on the Internet, add to home screen – allows you to save it to your home screen as an icon.
In the above list you can double tap on Add to Home Screen, and that will allow you to edit the name before flicking left to double tap on the Add/Save Button and it will be saved to your Home Screen for easy access to that web page.

PC Web Browsing:
Hold down the Alt and type the letter D to bring focus to the Address Bar in Firefox or Internet Explorer. When you land there the URL for that web page is selected, so just hold down the Control key and type the letter C to copy it to the clipboard for pasting in a document or email message.

Possible topics for future meetings that resulted from this talk:
Rotor on iDevices,
Tips for searching in a browser,
Gestures with voiceover,
How to set up your home screens,
Text editing – copying, cutting and pasting.

Topic for the May 17 meeting will be rotor and gestures with VoiceOver.
Albert will check if we can designate a donation to our public library for CELA.

Respectfully submitted by Shawn Marsolais and Albert Ruel


GTT New Westminster and Vancouver Summary Notes, Making TV Accessible, February 15 and March 4, 2017

Get Together with Technology (GTT)
New Westminster and Vancouver Meetings

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind in partnership with Blind Beginnings

Summary Notes
Feb. 15 and March 4, 2017

Making TV Accessible

Feb 15 in New Westminster:
Present: Albert, Matthew, Ryan, Fay, Carol, John, Bill, Karim, Pat.
March 4 in Vancouver:
Present: Sean H, Ryan, Monty, Rita, Betty, Maria, John

Starting out with TV in general:
• Antenna or cable was the traditional way, but now you can access TV over digital, the internet, or satellite.
• IP TV is internet protocol television.
• Something like YouTube or Netflics uses an application to stream video from the internet.
• IP TV is similar in that it uses an app to access a server that broadcasts traditional live TV channels (CTV, CBC, Global, etc.).
• You need to subscribe to the service, and get some hardware like ChromeCast, Apple TV or the xBox.

How accessible is it:

• AE-BC internet corp is the only one Monty knows of, in terms of IP TV provider
• The are an internet service provider.
• They buy their bandwidth in bulk from bigger companies, so you are using the same infrastructure, but when you phone up customer service, you are talking to AE-BC.
• Internet plans are potentially cheaper, unlimited downloads as well.
• So you need the internet to have IP TV service.

So how do we watch it:

• They can sell you an Android cypher bar, which is a small Android box that plugs into the wall, and into your tv through HDMI, and it has USB inputs and a couple different audio outputs.
• It is about six inches by two inches, almost the size of a small braille display.
• Last year that box was the main option, it cost 200 dollars, and you had to buy it.
• Monty found that he could use talkback, the android accessible screen reader that is built in to the box.
• It did not work one hundred percent, but it was a partially talking set top box.
• The iPhone app was not 100 percent accessible either, but Monty was able to move up and down the navigation menu and choose the channel he was looking for, and he was able to toggle descriptive video on and off (however, the descriptive video was not working on shows he knew it was available on), so that was one drawback. He was also not able to get descriptive video on the iOS app.
• So you get the basic 40 local channels for free, and they allow you to bundle extra channels just like shaw and Telus.
• So that concludes the description of live TV over the internet.
• Participants gave information on Shaw Free Range TV, which is a similar internet TV service that is offered to shaw customers.

Moving on to Apple TV:

• It is a box you hook up to your TV with Voiceover – you can use Netflicks, Show Me, Crave TV, – has its own App store.
• Apple TV can only get info from the Internet – not from your regular cable TV. All cable TV menus are still not accessible.
• There is a device you can use to connect the Apple TV to your stereo to allow you to access the audio of the Apple TV programming.
• Google also makes the ChromeCast – is cheaper and everything is done through your smart phone.
• Shaw cable is starting to offer the ChromeCasts service in the Vancouver and Calgary areas, and are planning to go nationwide with it soon.
• Siri is available on the new Apple TV as well.
• You can ask Siri to go find a movie on NetFlics or iTunes or a song on YouTube.
• You can set triple click to turn off and on Voiceover on the Apple TV.
• You can turn on audio description so that any program you play that has audio-description will play automatically.
• You can use a Bluetooth keyboard instead of the apple TV remote.
• Price ranges from $150 – $250 depending on the amount of storage you want, 32, 64 or 128 GB.

Microsoft Xbox:

• Xbox also allows you to use Narrator to access Netflicks etc.

Tutorial Podcasts:

• Podcast providers like and David Woodbridge offer many opportunities to learn about the many apps and devices available.

Tell Me More TV:

• Another subscription service that is currently available is Tell Me More – everything is in described TV – like AMI for $7 per month – watch on Internet. They are working on an app
• Use the PromoCode Tellmemore17 and you’ll get $25 percent off

Topic for the next New Westminster meeting, March 15 will be GPS:

• We will play a podcast on Nearby Explorer.

The topic for April Vancouver and New Westminster meetings:

• Dropbox will be the focus, both a lecture component and then a hands on signing up for and installing Dropbox component. Bring your laptop computer or smart phone so you can receive the support you need.

Resource Article: Dictation Commands for Mac OS X & iOS

Dictation Commands for Mac OS X & iOS

Find the text of Dictation Commands for Mac OS X & iOS here:

Additional resources titled, 60+ dictation commands available on your iPhone or iPad by Matt Hopkins:

And finally, follow this additional link to a YouTube video titled, Dictation on the iPad with VoiceOver:

Dictation is a feature of iOS and Mac OS X that lets you speak as you normally would, transforming your speech magically into text. It’s impressively accurate, letting you easily crank out notes, emails, diary entries, or just about anything else with it just by talking. To really get the most out of Dictation though you will want to learn a few extra commands, they will help with things like punctuation, creating paragraphs, jumping to new lines, and setting capitalization.

These commands will work in both OS X and iOS, so long as the Mac, iPad, or iPhone supports Dictation and has the featured turned on (here’s how to enable it in OS X and how to enable it for iOS, though it’s almost always turned on by default in the latest versions of both.)

List of Dictation Commands for iOS & Mac OS X

These are to be spoken when Dictation is active:

• “All Caps” to capitalize all of only the next word (e.g. START)
• “Caps” to capitalize the next word (e.g. Start)
• “Upper Case [letter]” for making a spelling out acronyms (e.g. SAT)
• “Caps On” to turn on caps lock
• “Caps Off” to turn off caps lock
• “No Caps” to use no capitals with the word
• “Numeral [number]” to type the number rather than word
• “New Paragraph” to create a new paragraph
• “New Line” to insert and start a new line
• “No Space” to prevent a space from being between the next word
• “No Space On” to turn off all spaces in the next sequence of words (helpful for passwords)
• “No Space Off” to resume normal spacing between words

Adding things like periods and commas can be done automatically by pausing in speech, or, usually more accurately, by just simply saying aloud the punctuation needed.

Here’s an example of how to use Dictation to write a quick message that looks as if it was typed normally:

“Hey Homer [comma] [new line]
What time do you want to see a movie

I think the [numeral 5] showing is the [all caps] best [period] [new line]
Toodles [comma] Bart”

That would come out looking like this:

“Hey Homer,
What time do you want to see a movie? I think the 5 showing is the BEST.
Toodles, Bart”

There are a lot of other punctuation and special commands available, and even though most are common sense, you can find the full list below for convenience.

Punctuation & Special Character Commands for Dictation in Mac OS X & iOS

Most of the punctuation commands are common sense, but here’s the full list of possibilities from Apple:

table with 2 columns and 45 rows
question mark
inverted question mark
exclamation point


em dash

open parenthesis
close parenthesis
open square bracket
close square bracket
open brace
close brace
semi colon



back quote

single quote

end single quote



back slash
percent sign
copyright sign
registered sign
section sign
dollar sign
cent sign
degree sign
at sign
Pound sterling sign
Yen sign
Euro sign

pound sign
smiley face (or “smiley”)
frowny face (or “sad face”, “frown”)
winky face (or “winky”)
table end

Many other commands were mentioned on the web page, so follow the link at the top of this document to access those comments.