GTT Victoria Meeting September 2, 2015
The September GTT meeting took place from 1:00 to 3:30 PM in the community room at the central library, 735 Broughton Street. It was great to resume our afternoon meeting time with at least fifteen attendees. Everyone agreed that this is a good space for our meetings. It is centrally located and easy to find. It also has excellent acoustics and a good audio/visual system, which can easily accommodate any equipment to be used for presentations and demos.
We very much appreciate the enthusiasm of Greater Victoria Public Library staff, who see us as a great peer support group who can work with library patrons when they have vision-related accessibility questions.
The September meeting featured an excellent presentation by Sky Mundell, in which he compared the four top screen-readers currently in use:
• JAWS for Windows from Freedom Scientific (http://www.freedomscientific.com/Products/Blindness/JAWS)
• WindowEyes from GWMicro/AISquared (http://www.gwmicro.com/Window-Eyes/)
• System Access to Go (http://www.satogo.com/en/) from Serotek, and
• NVDA (Non-Visual Desktop Access) (http://www.nvaccess.org), an open-source solution developed by two blind Australian programmers.
We also opened the floor for discussion around BC Transit’s decision to install a Trekker Breeze (http://store.humanware.com/hus/trekker-breeze-plus-handheld-talking-gps.html), a personal GPS device, on all of its buses. Everyone at the meeting considered this to be an inappropriate and inadequate solution, and a long list of concerns regarding the Breeze was brought forward. All agreed that principles of inclusive design, as implemented by TransLink since 1986, should have been similarly implemented on transit systems province-wide.
Two current Trekker Breeze Plus users indicated that their newly updated devices are not functioning as advertised, so they have stopped using them. Linda suggested that on one trip to the downtown area of Victoria she turned on the Breeze upon leaving the bus stop near her home and that it still hadn’t found a satellite by the time she arrived downtown on the bus. Trevor indicated that he too has had trouble getting it to provide him the service he requires so will be returning his Breeze to Humanware due to its inadequate functionality.
Therefore, we are now developing a plan of action to raise awareness around this issue. You can participate by expressing your concerns by contacting BC Transit, either via the BC Transit website (http://bctransit.com/servlet/Satellite/victoria/contact), and/or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bctransit), and/or Twitter (@BCTransit).
The BC Transit Facebook page has already received several complaints, including some from sighted people, who are wondering why cross-streets, not bus stops, are called. Please note that BC Transit will remove any comments it deems to be “disrespectful” per their Rules of Engagement (https://www.facebook.com/bctransit/info?tab=page_info).
Letters and phone calls have been made to the following Victoria media outlets:
Dave Obee, Editor-in-Chief
Direct Line: 250-380-5201
Ryan Price, News director
Main switchboard: 250-386-1070
CBC Vancouver Island
Gregor Craigie (host)
On The Island
Peter Hutchinson – producer
Manuel Achadinha, President & CEO
And finally, during the meeting Albert offered two pocket DAISY readers free to a good home. Josie H took them both in order to evaluate which one will best suit her needs, so hopefully at the next meeting one of them will be available for Sabine L to trial as she expressed interest in one as well. They were first generation VR Stream and Plextalk Pocket.
The next meeting of the GTT Victoria group will be on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at the Greater Victoria Public Library in the community room, 735 Broughton Street from 1:00 to 3:30 PM.
Submitted on September 22, 2015 by:
Tom Dekker, GTT Victoria Coordinator