Category Archives: Peer Mentoring

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

 

 

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

 

 

GTT Newfoundland Conference Call Invitation, Brainstorming Session, January 17, 2018

Get Together With Technology (GTT) Newfoundland

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

GTT is coming to Newfoundland by toll free telephone!  Blind and low vision GTT participants meet monthly to share their experiences using assistive technologies in their everyday lives at school, work, or at home.

 

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.

 

Agenda for the First Newfoundland GTT Meeting:

Location: Toll Free Telephone Number Found Below

Date: Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Time: 2:00 PM until 3:30 PM Newfoundland Time

Call-in Info Below:

Theme: Kim Kilpatrick will lead a Brainstorming Session Regarding Future content and format for GTT Newfoundland Meetings

Some are curious about the kinds of topics or technologies that may be discussed in future meetings. Here is a sample list.

 

  1. Low vision electronic magnifiers both desktop and portable.
  2. Screen magnification for PC and MAC.
  3. Screen magnification for iPhone/iPad.
  4. Refreshable electronic braille devices.
  5. Listening to talking books with Victor Reader Stream.
  6. Finding/downloading Bookshare books with Victor Reader Stream.
  7. Finding/listening to Internet radio and podcasts with Victor Reader Stream.
  8. Listening to talking books with Victor Reader Stratus.
  9. Listening to talking books with Plextalk.
  10. Finding/downloading CNIB/CELA or NNELS books.
  11. What are CELA and NNELS Library services?
  12. Comparisons of the NVDA/ JAWS/System Access/Narrator screen readers for PC.
  13. Surfing the web with a screen reader.
  14. Using Excel with a screen reader.
  15. Using MS Word with a screen reader.
  16. Using Outlook with a screen reader.
  17. Using Power Point with a screen reader.
  18. Navigating the ribbon in Microsoft Office programs such as Outlook, Excel, and Word.
  19. Recording/editing audio on PCs and MACs.
  20. Assistive iPhone apps Such as KNFB Reader, TapTapSee, DigitEyes, Looktel, Be My Eyes.
  21. Communication iPhone apps such as email, iMessage, FaceTime, Skype.
  22. Using social media programs like FaceBook and Twitter.
  23. Using Siri voice commands and dictation on the iPhone.
  24. GPS iPhone apps such as Blind Square, Seeing Eye, Ariadne.
  25. Dedicated GPS devices such as the HumanWare Trekker Breeze and Braille Note Taker software like Sendero GPS.
  26. Free Window Eyes screen reader for owners of all Office 2010/2013 packages.
  27. Comparisons of Scan and read technology like Open Book, Kurzweil, Eye Pal, DocuScan, Breeze-EZ and VERA.
  28. Talking typing tutorial programs like, Typeability, Talking Typing Tutor and Talking Typing Teacher.
  29. Beginner screen reading/magnification programs like Dolphin Guide, Speak Easy and the JAWS companion called LEASEY.
  30. Daily living gadgets like colour identifiers, talking weigh scales for the bathroom and kitchen, talking thermometers, AMI/Apple TV, talking tape measures, money identifiers etc.
  31. Where to get tutorials for screen readers, iDevices etc.

 

Call-in Information:

1-866-740-1260

Passcode is 5670311#

iPhone users can double-tap on the below number to have the passcode dialed automatically following the toll free number:

1-866-740-1260,5670311#

 

Who Should Attend?

  • Any blind or low vision person, regardless of age, who is interested in learning about the features built-in to Apple iPhone, iPod, or IPad.
  • Existing users of Apple devices who have questions or want to share your experience.
  • Anyone interested in contributing to the future of the Newfoundland GTT group by sharing ideas for future meetings to discuss other blind or low vision assistive devices.

For more information contact Shane Wheeler:

GTTNewfoundland@Gmail.com

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Smart Speakers, Seeing AI and ShopTalk CNIB, December 14, 2017

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

December 14, 2017

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, December 14 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*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.

 

December 2017 Topic – ShopTalk, Smart Speaders and Seeing AI:

 

GTT Toronto December 14, 2017 Meeting Summary can be found at this link:

 

Ian opened the meeting. We’ll be talking about Google Home and the Amazon Echo. The next meeting will be all about Android.

 

CNIB ShopTalk:

Shane took over to discuss ShopTalk. This is a program where local businesses have installed beacons that give information through Blindsquare. St. Clair station, the closest subway station to the CNIB Hub which hosts our meetings, has also installed them. This isn’t publicly announced yet because it’s still being tested. In January, Shane and the TTC will be recruiting testers. Shane will run an orientation with some TTC staff, and anyone who’s interested in this should get in touch with Shane. More information will be coming out on the GTT list. TTC hopes to make this available at all stations. It will offer information about entrances, fair gates, collector booths etc. on the fly. It will offer specific directions for finding stairs, busses and so on.

 

BlindSquare Event is a free version of BlindSquare . It has a radius of several kilometers, and it makes BlindSquare available for people who haven’t purchased the ap. It makes a given area accessible to BlindSquare even if you haven’t paid for it, but only within that radius.

 

Seeing AI Updates:

Jason took over, and began by describing the latest update to Seeing AI, which is the free Microsoft solution for text recognition and barcode scanning. The latest update includes colour identifier, hand-writing identification, currency identification, and light detection. Because it’s constantly being updated, it will get even better by degrees.

 

Smart Speakers, Amazon Echo and Google Home:

Jason then began his presentation about smart speakers. In front of him he had a Google Home, a Google Home Mini, an Amazon Echo, and an Echo Dot. These are all devices that connect to the internet. They’ll answer questions, and do various home-control tasks. Amazon was the first to release this technology. The original Echo came out in 2014. For a long time it wasn’t available in Canada; you had to buy it from the U.S. As of December 5, 2017 they’re available here. You can order them through Amazon, or get them at Bestbuy here.

 

The Amazon Echo is about 6 inches tall, and looks like a beer glass. There are 4 buttons on the top, volume up and down, microphone on/off, or start microphone. All of these devices respond to a wake word. They’re not recording all the time, but once they hear the wake word, they listen to what you’re saying, and respond. The echo wake word is Alexa. It will respond to queries about the weather, the time, setting timers, making phone calls so it becomes a speaker phone, and will give you recipes and much more. Another one of its features is that it allows you to talk to other smart devices. The Alexa ap is what you install on your phone for initial setup. From this ap, you can talk to it through your phone. There are 4 possible wake words, Alexa, Amazon, Echo, and computer. You can attach the device to multiple phones. You don’t actually need the ap for much after setup if you don’t want to use it.

 

It has “far-field recognition,” which means you can activate it from far away. The microphone is quite sensitive. There are lights on the top of the unit that show visually when it’s listening. By default, the lights activate. In the ap, you can turn on a setting to play a sound to let you know it’s been activated by the wake word. It’s not sensitive to know who’s speaking to it yet, but Amazon is working on specific voice recognition so that one person could, for example, order something from Amazon, and it would be automatically charged to their specific account. Not all features are available here yet, but they’re coming. In the U.S. you can play Audible books on it.

 

Where the Echo Shines is in its ability to work with what it calls skills. This means specific tasks that you can write a small program to perform. Skills are written and published, and you can enable them. If you’re technically inclined, you can write your own skills within its parameters.

 

Jason demonstrated a skill he wrote titled GTT skill. When activated, it offered him options to read the date of the next meeting, or read the previous meeting notes. He invited it to read the last-month’s meeting notes. This skill is not yet public, but will be. When you publish a skill you need images, and that’s the last step. Once Jason has that, he can publish it, and anyone can access it.

 

Setting the language of your device controls how it speaks, how it understands, and what skills you can use on it. There are local and specific skills. Banks and airlines for example, will publish their own skills, that will allow you to interact with them and do things you might now be doing on-line. You can write skills that are kept private, for example incarnations of home automation. Writing skills requires some programming knowledge. Home automation processes often require extra hardware.

 

If you know the name of the skill you want, you can ask the Echo to enable it. Within the ap, you can search under categories. There are over 15,000 skills. There’s an Uber skill that ties into Uber, then lets you order a car.

 

The standard Echo costs around $130, and has the better speaker. The Echo Dot is the same circumference as the standard, but about a third of the height. It’s $50. If you have a smart thermostat, you can control your home temperature through the Echo. If you want to control devices in your home, look on the Amazon site for compatible interfaces. Jason uses Wemo.

 

The Echo will connect via bluetooth, so you can connect it to other speakers. It’s got a line-out jack too. The Alexa ap is completely accessible. From the ap store, look for Amazon Alexa by Amazon.

 

Microsoft and Apple are also coming out with stand-alone smart speakers. The Microsoft Home Pod will be around $400. Google is coming out with a larger version called the Google Home Max. It’s a much larger version that has stereo sound.

 

The Google Home and the Echo are comparable, but the Google Home excels in web searches and geographical information. Both devices ask for your home address during setup. The Google Home is about the same height as the Echo. Jason demonstrated it giving the weather forecast. You can hook it up to your contacts, and use names to make phone calls rather than phone numbers. It’s using wireless to make the calls. You don’t need to have a phone in your house. It does similar things like timers and alarms. He demonstrated using it as a translator by translating a sentence into Spanish. Many things that Google can do on a PC is accessible via the Google Home. It will sometimes give you information, then send more details to your phone ap. It has a version of skills called “actions,” but not nearly as many. You can sync it to your calendar, and query it about your appointments. Both devices will let you set up appointments or reminders. You can’t play YouTube videos on the Google Home unless you have a TV or a device called a ChromeCast hooked up to it. If you have a ChromeCast and a TV, you can use the Google Home to play Netflix to it.

 

Everything that works or doesn’t work right now, can change from moment to moment because the net connection allows continuous updates. The Google Home hooks up to www.allrecipes.com so that you can ask for recipes, and have them read to you.

 

Jason demonstrated asking for flight prices. It replied, then offered to send price alerts to your email account. This process can be done on Google on the PC, but it’s very complicated.

 

You can set it up so that when you say “good morning,” it will reply with news from specific sources, or specific information. It’s pretty forgiving about phrasing; it picks up on key words.

 

After initial setup, you can sign up for sustained subscriptions to music services. Both devices do Spotify, but neither do Apple Music. The Echo offers Amazon Music, which is free if you’re already signed up to Amazon Prime.

 

The Google Home Mini has better sound than the Echo Dot. The Echo and Echo dot have an audio  jack so you can connect it to your stereo or another speaker. If you have a standard and a mini of either, you can specify which device you want to play music from.

 

The Echo will read books you’ve purchased through Kindle. A member asked whether either device can read books from CELA. The answer is no, not at present.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 6pm
  • 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 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 Edmonton Summary Notes, Canadian Assistive Technology Demonstration, December 11, 2017

            Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting December 11, 2017

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held December 11, at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

23 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.

 

December Topic – Technology Demo

We were treated to a technology demo from Canadian Assistive Technologies, formerly known as Aroga, a company with over 30 years’ experience providing assistive technology to blind and low vision Canadians. Company owner, Steve Barclay, exhibited some of the latest tech available including:

  • Orcam MyEye Version 8 ($4500) head worn OCR artificial vision system. Converts text into spoken word, recognizes money, products, faces. Steve also has gently used model for half price at $2250.
  • Jordy Headworn CCTV System is like the E-Sight but less expensive at $4995 and with a superior camera and optics.
  • Transformer HD ($3995), a Wi-Fi connectable CCTV with optional OCR camera. Display to iPad or Android tablets.  Or direct connect to USB and HDMI TV.
  • BrailleNote Touch 32 ($6895) and BrailleNote Touch 18 ($4995) Android braille enabled notetakers from HumanWare.
  • BrailleSense Polaris, the latest Android Braille Notetaker from HIMS
  • Dolphin Supernova ($590) Screen Magnifier and screen Reader
  • KNFB Reader Enterprise Version and Hovercam Solo 5 – Super Speedy OCR for Windows/iPhone/Android. The KNFB Reader Enterprise ($110 and up) allows installation on multiple devices including iDevices and Windows PC.
  • To learn more about the indoor navigation beacon that Steve showed us visit the manufacturer’s web site, Right-Hear.

 

Steve also has some good deals at the Canadian Assistive Technologies gently used marketplace which is worth checking out.

For more information on these or any other Canadian Assistive Technologies products, you may contact Steve at:

(844) 795-8324

Or  sales@canasstech.com

 

Steve’s team also produces a weekly assistive technology podcast which is called AT Banter. You can subscribe to it with your iPhone or Victor Reader Stream.

If you have assistive technology that requires repairs consider Steve’s partner company, Chaos Technical Services. Based in Vancouver, it offers professional repairs with quick turnaround.  Contact owner, Rick Chant, at (778) 847-6840 or chaostech@shaw.ca

 

Next Meeting (Monday January 8, 2018 at 7pm)

  • Carrie and Lyle will demonstrate and answer your questions about the magnification and screen reading features native to Windows-10. Learn how these features can help low vision and blind users use a Windows PC without the need to install any special software.
  • Lorne, Russell, and Gerry will work with individuals who want help or to learn more about the Voice Over screen reader that comes with every iPhone and iPad to provide access to these devices by blind people.
  • 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]

Instructions for Subscribing to the CCB Podcast Feed with Victor Reader Stream, by Gerry Chevalier

Subscribe to CCB Podcast Feed with Victor Reader Stream

By Gerry Chevalier, GTT Edmonton

 

To subscribe to the Canadian Council of the Blind’s podcast feed with your Victor Reader Stream new generation, follow these steps.

 

  1. Press the Online button above key 2 to reach the online bookshelves.
  2. If your Stream announces that airplane mode is on then press and hold the Online button to turn off airplane mode.
  3. Press key 1 multiple times to reach the Podcast bookshelf.
  4. Press the Go To key above key 1 multiple times to find the option to add a podcast feed and then press the Confirm key to the right of key 0.
  5. Press keys 2 or 8 to reach the Title search option and then press the Confirm key.
  6. The Stream is now in text entry mode, so you can enter the title of the feed you wish to add. Type “Canadian Council” on the number pad keys. For example, to enter “c”, press key 2 three times, to enter “a”, press key 2 once, to enter “n” press key 6 twice and so on. Don’t worry about entering uppercase. If you make a mistake, press the Rewind key once to erase the previous letter. Enter the space between words by pressing key 0. If you wish help press the Sleep key to enable a key describer feature where you can press any key to hear which letters are mapped to that key. Press the Sleep key again to return to text entry mode.
  7. When you finish typing the title, press the Fast Forward button to the right of the PLAY key to verify what you have typed.
  8. When the title search string is correct, press the Confirm key to the right of key 0 to start the search.
  9. The search results will appear. Press key 6 to move through the results until you find “The Canadian Council of the Blind Podcast, CCB Program Staff”. Then press the Confirm key to subscribe to this feed.
  10. Press the Cancel key to the left of key 0 three times to exit the search function and return to the bookshelf. Press the Confirm key to open the new CCB podcast feed.
  11. IF you have not modified your Stream’s default podcast settings, then the 3 most recent episodes of the podcast will start to download. IF your Stream is set for manual download you will need to press Confirm to activate the option to get more episodes, then use keys 4 or 6 to find an episode, and press Confirm to download the episode.

 

To listen to an episode:

  1. Press key 1 multiple times to reach the Podcast bookshelf.
  2. Press key 4 or 6 multiple times to reach the Canadian Council of the Blind feed. Then press Confirm to open the feed.
  3. Press keys 4 or 6 multiple times to find the episode you wish to listen to. You may press key 5 to hear a description of an episode. When you find the episode you wish to listen to, press the Play key.
  4. To delete an episode, press key 3 followed by the Confirm key. You will be asked to press the Confirm key again to confirm deletion.
  5. If you want to find new episodes press key 4 until you reach the option to Get More Episodes and press Confirm.
  6. The list of episodes that are available for download will appear. Press keys 4 or 6 multiple times to find a desired episode and press Confirm to download it.
  7. When you are finished looking for new episodes to download, press key 4 multiple times to find the option to show downloaded episodes and press the Confirm key.

[End]

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Online Shopping, November 16, 2017

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

November 16, 2017

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, November 16 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*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.

 

November 2017 Topic – Online Shopping:

 

www.gtt-toronto.ca is the local website for getting together with technology, where you can find out about future meetings, and read notes from past meetings.

 

Ian opened the meeting and invited us to have a go around in which you give your name, and some aspect of technology you’re interested in, or would like to cover in future meetings. Ideas included the new Trekker Breeze, the Amazon Echo coming to Canada, starting a blog, integrating Siri with Wheeltrans, an accessible MP3 player for music, newest GPS aps, accessible podcasting and audio editing, an accessible timer that’s discreet and doesn’t disturb others, vibrating watch bands to tell time and also as sonar for proximity alerts, and learning the basics of Apple and Windows.

 

Jason spoke about Uber, who presented to the group several months ago. They just released their new service animal policy, which looks very promising. It’s been circulated on several blindness-related email lists.

 

Jason announced that the latest version of Firefox has broken accessibility, and screen readers have not caught up to Firefox57. Use Chrome. Internet Explorer is obsolete, and most sites won’t support it anymore. Adam added ESR version 52 is a version of Firefox that does work at least with Zoomtext. It’s available in 32 and 64 bit versions. Rylan added that this solution will only work temporarily. Rylan added that Chrome may be starting to display mobile versions of sites; he’s noticed this in the past day or two. It may be Chrome deciding that the mobile version is better for accessibility. Jason added that this can happen if your window isn’t maximized, because some sites adapt to what they’re being displayed on, and a minimized window will trigger the mobile version. Rylan noted that the latest versions of Jaws are compatible with Google Chrome.

 

Meeting Theme:

Rylan introduced himself as the speaker for the evening. He discovered that most people in the room have done online shopping before. Rylan asked for questions off the top. A member asked which sites are not accessible. Rylan answered Best Buy and Kijiji.

 

CregsList, Kijiji and Letgo are online shopping platforms that allow you to buy second-hand products. It can be risky because you’re dealing with strangers, but it’s also an opportunity to get good deals.

 

An extension of this is eBay.ca. Rylan began by demonstrating eBay. The site displays a carousel, which is a section of constantly changing content, and isn’t helpful for screen reader users. The easiest thing is to look for an edit field which will offer you a search window. He used number 1 and number 2 to move through heading level one, and heading level two. There are options to help you refine your search results such as price, condition, format, location etc. Watch the location, as you’ll have to deal with shipping. eBay puts the refine search after the search results. Below the link for the result, you can arrow down to read the price, shipping rate, whether the item is available immediately or on auction or both. You get information about the seller, how many items they’ve sold, what their feedback from previous customers has been etc. To use eBay requires a PayPal account. The iPhone ap is accessible too. eBay has done work to make their site accessible. Make sure you’re on eBay.ca so that you don’t have to worry about exchange rates.

 

Rylan then discussed straight online shopping sites. A member asked whether any screen reader should work on an accessible site, and Rylan answered yes, as long as you’re using a reasonably contemporary version. Hotwire and Pricline are other examples of sites that are difficult from an accessibility perspective. In terms of large retailers, Walmart is one of the worst from an accessibility perspective. Although Best Buy’s site is bad, the fliers they send are accessible on an iPhone. Grocerygateway delivers, and works well. Loblaws just announced a new service that’s coming. LCBO has an online ordering system, but the delivery can take up to two weeks. You can have something shipped to your local outlet and have it there in a couple of days.

 

Canada Post has flex delivery, which allows you to divert packages to your local postal pick-up location. You can trigger this when ordering. You register through Canada post, and they give you a custom address which is the postal outlet rather than your home. That way you know packages will go directly to the outlet, and won’t be left at your door unsafely. The item must be under ten pounds.

 

Amazon has lots of stuff very cheap, and has a good accessibility department. Someone said there’s an Amazon site dedicated to screen reader users which can be found at www.amazon.Com/access. Rylan disapproved of this, as it segregates accessibility rather than building it in. Amazon Prime is a service you pay for annually, which gets you some perks and discounts, such as free shipping on many items. Students get half price for Prime.

 

The site is less cluttered than eBay. Pressing H is one way to navigate results. R for regions is another way to navigate, but sometimes doesn’t work as well as headings. Many results have the word “sponsored,” which means the company has paid to have their result prominently placed. You can down-arrow for price, or enter on the link for more information. Use H until you find the heading titled with the product you’re researching. There are form fields to allow you to choose colour, add the item to your wishlist, or add the item to your cart. Some items are eligible for free shipping even without Amazon Prime. If so, it will say so on the page. A lot of Amazon products come from other parts of the world. The page gives a customer rating, and may offer you gift wrapping. Amazon has a great return policy, but you have to ship it back yourself. They will send you a pre-paid shipping label via email, but you’ll have to put the package and label together and get it into the mail yourself.

 

Reviews can be helpful, particularly if there are a lot of them. It’s worth while reading reviews for cues that suggest the reviews are plants.

 

You can set up 1-click ordering, which expedites the order process. So far it’s not possible to order through your Amazon Echo, but now that the Echo is available in Canada, that might change soon.

 

The product review page shows you an average customer rating, the reviews, and how many reviews were one through five stars.

 

Rylan demonstrated buying an item. Enter on the “add to cart” button, then the “proceed to checkout” button. At that screen you can change the quantity, or delete the item from your cart if you change your mind.

 

A member asked about security. Rylan said that he doesn’t take any special steps and just uses his own creditcard, but you can get pre-paid Amazon cards, pay through Paypal, get pre-paid Visa cards from your bank, or keep a card dedicated to online purchases with a low limit. Online transactions have become much more secure in the past few years. Retailers don’t want you frauded any more than you want to be frauded; it’s bad publicity for them. For security reasons however, when you’re setting up an account on a retail site, don’t use the same password you use for your email. If your email password gets hacked, you’re in big trouble. A member contributed that his bank account sends him a text every time his card is charged. If he sees a text for something he doesn’t recognize, he knows it’s fraudulent. Most banks will do this; look for the phrase, ‘feedback alerts.”

 

A member asked about cheaper sites like DealExtreme. Rylan said such sites aren’t likely to have the level of accessibility of Amazon. Jason said that there are very few sites that an experienced screen reader can’t navigate. A member added that some sites offer a customer service phone number that you can call, and have an agent complete your order for you.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, December 21 at 6pm
  • 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 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:There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
  • http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/