GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, Object Recognition Apps, April 10, 2017

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting April 10, 2017

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held April10 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

14 people attended.

 

April Topic – Object Recognition Apps

Lorne and Russell demonstrated the following iPhone apps that help identify objects.

 

Barcode Scanning

 

SeeWithMe

 

From the iTunes App Store

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/see-with-me/id1118710695?mt=8

Description

 

Blind or visually impaired? This app was developed for you! It allows you to simply move your smartphone over a product’s barcode, and the product name will be read out loud to you. Use it at home or at your grocery store. A connection to the internet (either Wi-Fi or cellular data) is required.

 

Most products from Save-On, Overwaitea and PriceSmart locations may be scanned by this app (excluding items packaged in-store, such as the deli and bakery). We’re working to add more stores soon!

 

Have some personal items at home that you need help identifying (e.g., CDs, medication)? You can print custom barcodes for them too, just visit our website at seewithmeapp.com

Digit-Eyes

From iTunes App Store

https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/digit-eyes/id376424490?mt=8

 

Description

 

Best. Barcode. Reader. Ever! Scan UPC / EAN codes and hear the names of over

37 million products! Make your own QR code labels on the Digit-Eyes website and print them on inexpensive address labels. These barcoded labels may contain text that VoiceOver reads aloud or they can be used to record audio on your iPhone or iPad that is played back whenever the bar code is scanned.

 

Blind? Dyslexic? Having problems reading? Digit-Eyes is for you! With Digit-Eyes, you can

 

– Record your own labels. Visit the Digit-Eyes web site to print specially coded quick-response (QR) digital code labels, apply one to your calendar or a box of leftovers, scan, and record a message. To listen to the recording, just rescan the label. This is how Nancy keeps track of her appointments; how Jeanette labels her canning and how Randy keeps the fridge clean.

 

– Make text-based labels. Visit the Digit-Eyes web site to type up to 250 characters per label, print the specially coded quick-response (QR) barcodes on address labels on your local printer and apply them to your file folders or CDs. To listen to the text, scan it with the Digit-Eyes application on any iPhone or iPad. This is how Will’s secretary labels his folders and how Ana snoops through her friends’ CD collection.

 

– Buy pre-printed washable labels. Sew them into your clothing and record whatever you want to about the garment: color, fabric care or what it should be worn with. Even when the labels have been washed, bleached, sent through the dryer or dry-cleaned, you’ll still be able to scan them with the Digit-Eyes app on your iPhone or iPad and hear what you recorded about the garment.

This is how Davey makes sure he is wearing matching clothing and how Elizabeth can easily sort the laundry.

 

– Use the manufacturer’s product code to find out what the item is.

Digit-Eyes includes a feature that enables you to identify many groceries, CDs, and other consumer goods by scanning the UPC and EAN codes on the products. Just point the camera of your iPhone, Pad or iPod Touch 5g at a package label, scan the code, and wait for Digit-Eyes to call our database and tell you what the item is. This is how Deborah picks out her yarn, how Kevin finds the beef stew, and how both get ready to record their audio labels.

 

– Read standard inventory tags in code 39 or code 128 format. This is how Michael knows which printer is which at work and how Ben does the shelf stocking in his store.

 

– Print labels directly from your iPhone on your Bluetooth-connected printer;

 

– Create and read QR vCard format business card information and add the content to your contacts. This is how Digital Miracles gets information from customers at conferences and how we share our own contact information;

 

– Create lists of code that you’ve scanned; edit them, type additional information and share them with others. This is how Robbie notes what items are getting used up and tells Gary what to buy at the store;

 

– Use Digit-Eyes with any blue-tooth connected laser scanner, integrated as a single unit. This is how John is able to work at a grocery store reading the shelf tags to find where to stock the product.

 

Use of the free Digit-Eyes website comes with the product. The website contains extensive tutorial material designed for users of the iPhone and iPad who are not sighted. The product purchase also includes free online support and tutoring.

 

Digit-Eyes is available in English, Danish, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Spanish and Swedish.

 

Digit-Eyes

www.digit-eyes.com/

 

Remote assistance apps

 

Be My Eyes: https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/lifestyle/be-my-eyes-helping-blind-see

Connects to a human helper who can see through your camera to tell you what they see.

 

The following 2 apps Take a picture and within a minute, return a description of what it is by a person, either in text or an audio description or both

 

 

Real Time object recognition

(a computer is doing the object recognition, so it will probably be faster, but perhaps less accurate then the above apps) Aipoly Vision: https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/utilities/aipoly-vision

Third Eye: https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/medical/thirdeye-empowering-blind-and-visually-impaired-object-recognition

Identifi: https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/utilities/identifi-object-recognition-visually-impaired

Talking Goggles:

https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/productivity/talking-goggles-camera-speech

 

Educational Materials for our Chapter

All e-textbook and audio tutorial training materials have now been purchased and the links to download them have been emailed to those who requested the materials. If you have not received your download link please let us know at

Gtt.edmonton@gmail.com

 

Training

At the April 10 meeting, we also provided basic Victor Reader Stream training to one person.

 

Next Meeting (Monday May 8 at 7pm)

  • As usual, we will provide one-on-one training especially iPhone and DAISY players. If you have other training requests email your interests to us so we can try to accommodate you.
  • 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 in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Pembroke, Halifax, Sydney, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
  • There is also 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.

[End of Document]

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GTT Victoria Summary Notes, How Do You Access The News, March 1, 2017

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

Summary Notes
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm by chair Albert Ruel

Attendance: Kara, Bruce, Doug, Trever, Karen, Sky, Debra, Brent, Marion, Godwin, Barb S, Joan, Tom, Barbra A, Albert, Corry.

First Hour:
Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting, Nice to see three new faces out this meeting, a special welcome Debra, Goodwin and Barb S.

The meeting started with some discussion about an app that had been seen on the BBC news service similar to the BeMyEyes app. Various apps were discussed and the pros and cons of such apps. The liability involved in having someone identify potentially dangerous situations (like street crossing signals) was discussed. Albert mentioned that Kim had spoken about a new color detector app, being developed at Carlton, that might be available soon.

From there the discussion turned to some description about products that were available for loan from the library. Karen informed the group that tablets were available and that a 30 minute training session was also available to be booked. More training could be booked if the initial session did not suffice. Meeting participants had questions about what was on the tablets and the process involved in reading books on the loaned equipment.

Internet and email security were discussed and the importance of remembering your pass codes and access codes was communicated to all. Often, on sites like FaceBook and even on iDevices, access can not be obtained without this valuable information. Make a point of remembering your codes, Super important. There are smart phone and computer apps and programs available to help you remember like Password Vault and SplashID.

repurposing equipment was discussed. Bruce mentioned that iPhones were often available at Government Surplus. Deb expressed in interest in obtaining a used tablet and or phone. Albert will look into the matter. it was also noted that a original Victor Stream was required and requested by Barb A and Bruce was interested in a repurposed phone. Regarding the latter, Albert mentioned that the Lions of Victoria have a program that helps put an iPhone into the hands of blind and vision impaired users, More information at the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind.

Quick notes, SSD’s were discussed, is there a need to defrag, Sky will test…CELA is testing a new direct to player app, more details to come…CD with MP3 files are still available from the library…KNFB app, still one of the best, but also pricy, the app and what it does was discussed……The bookShare program was discussed.

remember the email address for this group is GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

Second Hour:
After a break the main meeting topic was discussed, that being NEWS. Where do you get your news, and how has the process evolved over the years based on technology advancements. Facebook and Twitter and other social media outlets were identified as sources, with the cautionary note that all news is not true. Fake news and the attention it has garnered recently was talked about, and how you can best judge it accuracy. The library of congress and the inability of Canadians to access this extensive resource was discussed. Albert mentioned the Newspapers that were available via CELA. How to source news via a web search was discussed.

Before closing the question of when we should hold meeting was raised. Should we attempt an evening meeting? Should we meet more or less then once a month? The consensus was to continue to meet once a month in the daytime.

The meeting was adjourned at 2:50

Next meeting Wednesday April 5, 2017

Meeting notes submitted by Corry Stuive

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes: All About Windows 10 and Screen Readers, November 9, 2016

GTT National Conference Call
Summary Notes

November 9, 2016.

Screen Readers:
Screen readers being used by people on the call.

• JAWS, ranging from Version 13 to 17, paid only with time limited trials available.
• Window Eyes, free, trial and paid versions available.
• System Access, free, trial and paid versions available.
• NVDA, free with a suggested $30 donation.
• Dolphin Guide, paid only with a free 30-day trial.
• Many people are using windows 7, a few windows 8.1 and some windows 10 with one person still on xp but looking to change.
• One person is using ZoomText Magnifier/Reader but changing to NVDA.

Brainstorming specific questions:

PDF’s
Someone was trying to convert PDFs received by email into word documents without a scan and read program.
There are three main blindness specific scanning programs, and one that isn’t specific to blindness. There are also free web sites available to convert PDF files to text documents, and two of the screen readers discussed this night are able to convert PDF files to text on the fly.
ABBYY FineReader, which is not a blindness specific program, however that is being used successfully by screen reader and magnification users.

Kurzweil 1000, which is aimed at the blind market has been around a long time, and is used almost exclusively in the school and post-secondary systems. This program is available for the PC, and its sister program, Kurzweil 3000 is aimed at the Learning Disability sector on both the Mac and PC platforms.

Openbook is also blindness specific and is a product of Freedom Scientific. It is only available for the PC platform.

DocuScan plus is a blindness specific program and is created by Serotek, the makers of System Access. It is a stand-alone scan and read program that is self-voicing, and available for both the PC and Mac platforms.

DocuScan plus by Serotek appears to be the least expensive of the known scan and read software and is very easy to use.

Someone said that they try to read a PDF using Acrobat Reader and it says converting but then the screen reader says empty document.

This may be because the file has been scanned as an image and not converted for OCR. OCR stands for Optical Character Recognition, and you can learn more here. When someone is setting up their scanner they need to check the box which says check OCR so that it creates PDF files that will be readable by screen readers.

When a document has been scanned as an image file or when PDF files are received by email, programs like ABBYY FineReader, Kurzweil, Openbook and DocuScan can convert them to text based files electronically.

Also, sometimes iDevices read pdf’s that computers can’t access easily.
• The VoiceDreamReader app is good at converting and reading PDFs.
• The KNFB Reader iPhone app can also convert PDF files to text.

There is an OCR add-on that you can download from Freedom Scientific called, Convenient OCR. It is built into the latest versions of JAWS.

To OCR a document with JAWS, do the following:
1. Press jaws key plus the space bar
2. Press O for OCR then D for entire document.
3. Once converted to readable text one may select all or some of the text for pasting into an MS Word document. See more details by accessing the above link.

NVDA also has an OCR Add-on for converting PDFs to readable text. Download it by accessing the above link.

There are web sites that are free to convert PDF and other formatted files too many text based editable formats. One of them is, PDF to Text, and it can be found here. Narrator.
• In Windows 10 you can do more with narrator. You can move around your screen with it. It is not as robust as the above noted screen readers, however you can use narrator for the built in Live Mail and Edge Browser programs for Windows 10.
• You can use narrator to get to a website say to set up NVDA. Edge and Windows Live Mail are very inaccessible with any other screen reader.
• Narrator is not a full-fledged screen reader yet but people are encouraged to try it with Windows 10.
• It is free.

Google Searches:
It was pointed out that if you’re looking for download links to free software like NVDA, try typing in your Google Search NVDA Screen Reader Download or Thunderbird Download and it will usually take you right to the downloads page. Also, Google searches that start with “How do I…” will almost always get you good and helpful results.

General Questions:
Someone asked what version of JAWS is needed in order to run Windows 10? It is JAWS 16 or higher.

NVDA updates are always free and the software is free unless you buy the Eloquence Synthesizer voices which is around 80 dollars Canadian.

Once you have purchased the System Access screen reader, all updates are free, and it does work with Windows 10.

*Note: if your needs are being met with Windows 7 or 8.1 you don’t have to move to Windows 10. Those two operating systems will be supported by Microsoft for several years yet. However, if you are upgrading from Windows XP or Vista it might be worth your while to embark on a Windows 10 upgrade as you will be entering a significant learning curve anyway.

NVDA is a great screen reader developed by two people who are blind and they are updating all the time. This program is open source so some workplaces may not let you install or use it.

Many of the key strokes are very similar between NVDA and JAWS.

Trouble-shooting and training apps:
JAWS offers a built-in training and trouble-shooting utility called Tandem which allows someone helping you to access your computer provided both are running JAWS.

NVDA has a similar program called NVDA Remote.TeamViewer is another utility that can be used for trouble-shooting and training that is not screen reader specific. Difference between screen readers on the PC and mac?
• The Mac has only one choice for screen reader. It is called VoiceOver and is built-in. It is available on all Macs and you do not need to buy it separately.
• All the native Mac apps, (Mail, Web Browser, Spreadsheet, iTunes, Notes, Word Processing work well with VoiceOver.
• It has good high quality voices.
• The way you use this screen reader is very different than on the PC so there is a learning curve.
• There are good books through National braille press, as well as guides and podcasts through AppleVis.com and many resources to help you with the Mac and other iDevices.
• If you use other iDevices, your content will sync well between them and the Mac.
• The Track Pad on the Mac lets you do many gestures which are the same as those you use with your iPhone.
• If you have a friend with a mac and you want to try it out, hold down the Command Key and type F5 to toggle it on and off. The Command Key is known as the Alt Key on a PC, and is found to the left and right of the Space Bar.
• When you launch VoiceOver on the Mac, you are asked if you want to run the VoiceOver Tutorial, which helps you learn the basic keyboard commands.
• One other advantage is that you can run a copy of Windows on your Mac with NVDA. So, you can have both systems running on one computer. You might only want to do this if you love technology however.
• If you have questions about the Mac, Kim Kilpatrick uses it almost exclusively and can talk to you about the pros and cons.
• Mac computers are more expensive than many laptops but they are good quality.

What resources are out there for learning screen readers?
There are many good free and paid resources for learning to use your products and screen readers.
Often if users are having trouble, it is because they have not taken the time to set up the machine for maximum benefit from screen readers, or they haven’t learned enough about how to access the computer with their screen reading software.

CathyAnne Murtha textbooks are very good and highly recommended.NVDA has put out a very good manual for learning how to use it and someone said it is one of the best manuals he has seen. The cost for it is 30 dollars Australian and it can be found on the NVDA web site.

• There are many other useful things on the NVDA Web Site including some tutorials, downloads of the software etc.
Serotek also has good materials for learning the screen reader and the programs it supports.Disability Answer/Support Desk:
The below free technical support hotlines are reserved for screen reader, magnification, hearing or physical disability software users. All reports are that the people working these hotlines are quick, respectful, expert and friendly.

Someone was having an issue getting iCloud Mail running on the PC or on Android. No answers came out of the group gathered this night, so it was suggested that he call the Apple Accessibility Support number:
1-877-204-3930

For all troublesome matters related to screen reader or magnification users and the Microsoft Operating System or MS Office products, the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk number is:
1-800-936-5900

It was suggested you could use two different email programs on the PC. Say Outlook for Gmail and Thunderbird for iCloud.

It was pointed out that Thunderbird is a good email program and is recommended by those developing NVDA, but there can be a few problems such as not landing directly in your inbox.

The Edge Web Browser does not work well in Windows 10 but you can use Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer.

Next meeting, December 14, all about Streaming Services.

Respectfully submitted,
Kim Kilpatrick and Albert Ruel

Someone may win a free version of KNFB reader app for android or I device.

Hello everyone.

This message came to us through Lorne Webber of the Edmonton GTT group.

Sorry for the short notice but we just received this.

I am not familiar with this news letter listed below but it sounds like a great contest.

If you have an android or I device and do not have this app, it is a really great one and the cost usually is around $100.

People who subscribe (it’s free) to the Blind Perspective newsletter by visiting:

http://www.theblindperspective.com/

and jump by heading  down to the heading called “How to Subscribe”

Then click on February’s newsletter at: 

http://www.theblindperspective.com/current.htm

and move down to the heading called “Movers & Shakers”. Near the end of that article about KNFB Reader is the following directions:

“I would like to conclude this article with some great news. Sensotec has graciously offered to give one of our readers the KNFB Reader app, for either

an iOS or Android device user.

So readers if you are interested here is what you need to do:

-Answer the following question, in 300 words or less; How would a KNFB Reader make you more independent?

-Email your answer to: 

contest@theblindperspective.com

-All entries must be received by February 20 in order to qualify”

 

KNFB reader app for IOS reduced from $99 to $49.

Posted by Kim Kilpatrick

GTT Coordinator

I just heard that the very popular and well designed KNFB reader app for IOS devices has been reduced from $99 to $49.

I did not hear for how long this is taking place but if you are thinking of getting it, everyone I have met who has tried it is very impressed with it.

I admit that I personally have not spent a great deal of time with it but it was very carefully designed and does seem to work well.

You can also import PDF documents into it directly.

I also find voicedream reader does a good job of reading PDF’s on I devices.