Category Archives: Summary Notes

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 or 250-895-9835

Albert Ruel 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: URL: www.ccbnational.nett



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


Windows Ease of Access Center

This is where all Accessibility related settings can be adjusted.

Open the Ease of Access Center Windows logo key + U


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 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.

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


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


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.

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 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.

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

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

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.

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:

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:


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