Category Archives: Vancouver Community College (VCC)

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

 

 

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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 CoolBlindTech.com 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.