GTT Victoria Meeting June 3, 2015 Summary

The June 3 meeting of the Get Together With Technology (GTT) Victoria group was held from 1:00 to 4:00 PM at Fort Tectoria, 777 Fort Street.

Approximately 25 people attended, most of whom were blind or visually impaired, along with a group of Neil Squire Employability Program students and staff who attended for the first time in order to learn more about assistive technology specific to blindness and low vision.

Fort Tectoria Meeting Logistics:

The commitment made by VIATeC has come to an end in terms of our ongoing free use of the Shaw Conference Room at Fort Tectoria during the normal workday. Future meetings will either carry a cost of $200 for the afternoon session, or we will have to move our meetings outside of the typical workday.

*The question is, can we move the GTT Victoria meetings to the 5:00 to 7:00 PM time slot on the first Wednesday of each month? That question has been asked of the Fort Tectoria staff to see if our current location can be preserved. Please offer your thoughts to the GTT Victoria Team.

Who is the GTT Victoria Team?

  • Tom Dekker, GTT Victoria Coordinator is blind and a retired Rehabilitation Teacher and Rock and Roll Musician. He is the Proprietor of iHabilitation, a training endeavour aimed at providing iOS users the support and guidance they need in order to maximize their use of iDevices for leisure, recreation and work. .
  • Colin Lee, GTT Victoria Assistant is blind and has expertise in the Microsoft range of products and is a System Access user.
  • Albert Ruel, GTT-West Coordinator is blind and has been employed by the CCB National office to facilitate the growth of the GTT initiative throughout Western Canada.

Meeting Summary:

June 3 Feature Topic – Humanware and AbleTech Assistive Technologies Inc;

Guest Speakers: Richard Robinson is the General Manager of AbleTech Assistive Technology, and he introduced Michel Pepin, who is the Canadian Account Rep for HumanWare. Michel was in Western Canada for meetings and agreed to attend the GTT Victoria gathering to provide an overview of Humanware products. He spoke about and demonstrated their Prodigi Closed Circuit TV equipped with Optical Character Recognition, the Stratus and VR Stream lines of talking book machines, several refreshable Braille displays and note takers, as well as their recently revised Trekker Breeze Plus talking GPS solution. Prices were indicated and some Trekkers were catalogued and taken to Montreal for upgrading. Michel believes in the value of GTT and HumanWare will do what it can to support us.

To see what they have to offer please check the below websites:

Richard demonstrated a variety of assistive technology beyond that which Humanware offers and answered questions during the second hour when participants were encouraged to check out the devices with their own hands.

Albert gave a brief overview of the JAWS accompanying software released by Brian Hartgen called, LEASEY. It was also available for participants to trial briefly during the hands-on session.

Next Meeting (Date and time TBD)

  • Sky has agreed to give a presentation comparing and contrasting the 4 major screen readers on the market, namely JAWS, Window Eyes, NVDA and System Access.
  • In the second hour breakout groups will discuss any topic you wish. Please bring your technology and your questions.

GTT Victoria Group Overview:

  • GTT is sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • CCB now has GTT chapters in Ottawa, Edmonton and Nanaimo.
  • There is a national GTT monthly teleconference call as well.
  • GTT Victoria will foster the same learning experience as the above GTT chapters by holding monthly meetings to help participants with all manner of assistive technology.
  • Each meeting will have a feature technology discussed in the first hour and general question and answer about any other technology in the second hour.
  • Small groups or even one on one assistance is possible at the meetings.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because the second hour is for any and all questions.
  • The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • Participants decide what the feature topic will be for the next meeting.