GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, September 23, 2015 Vancouver Summary Notes

Sponsored by

The Canadian Council of the Blind and Blind Beginnings

September 23, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Hosted by Blind Beginnings at their offices, 227 6th Street in New Westminster

Present: Albert, Mary, John, Iris, Bruce, Linda, Donna, Geri, Betty, Tyler, Nita, Lovette, Shawn, Matthew and Clement. Bruce MacKenzie from Canadialog was in attendance and offered his support to the GTT Vancouver Group. They are the Canadian distributors of all things Freedom Scientific.

Clement and Mat started the introduction round, then asked all to introduce themselves with a brief description of what skills they can offer, and what they might wish to gain from involvement in GTT. From the introductions the following topics were discussed.

Here is a link to a recording of the proceedings:

Here are some of the discussions we had:

  • Why not upgrade to Windows 10: some have tried, and the consensus is that waiting until the bugs are worked out is a good idea for assistive tech users, unless one likes to play with new tools right out of the box.       Waiting until there’s a decimal after the version number before moving to it is a good idea.
  • When should I move to a new iOS version or iPhone. Apparently iOS 9 has fixed some of the slowness of earlier versions, and it seems to be working well on the iPhone 4S.
  • Triple tap the Home button to turn on and off the Voice Over App, or any other accessibility App. This has to be set up by going to the Settings App, General then Accessibility.       At the bottom of that page is an icon or button called Accessibility Shortcut that can be set to VO, Zoom or the other physical disability features. Once set-up you can turn VO on and off by merely triple tapping the Home button.
  • Two-finger double tap turns on and off audio playback, and it answers and hangs up phone calls.
  • The Audible App sometimes asks the user to connect to WI’FI. Check that the app is set to access books from the Device rather than the Cloud to ensure that no Data is being used when in transit.
  • GPS questions discussed were, Apple Maps, Google Maps, Blind Square and Sendero GPS. Different people use different ones and all of those are workable and accessible.
  • VO Calendar is an app designed to work with the native Calendar App in iOS and which renders it accessible and usable.
  • It was discussed that sometimes VO speaks a different thing than what is seen on the screen. We determined that the visual layout is different than the tab order, so one will be well served by learning the physical layout of the screen so that Back buttons, Send buttons and so on can be located very quickly.
  • When navigating the list of text and email messages the user can return to the top of the list by touching the top Heading, then swiping to the right and you’ll be back on the first message.
  • Exploring the screen while working with each App to learn where all the regular buttons are physically located is the quickest way to operate the phone/App. Swiping left or right as a means of exploring the screen is very time consuming, and it doesn’t allow us to know where the icon is actually located.
  • To read articles without the header info being spoken listen for the words “Reader is Available” as the web page is loading, then Find the word “Reader” at the top right corner of the screen. Double tap on it, then invoke the “Say All” command to begin reading the entire article. Once finished a 2-finger scrub will close the Reader.
  • There are two “Say All” commands – swipe down with two fingers will read from where your curser is positioned, and a 2-finger swipe up will send the curser to the top of the page and begin reading.
  • The Google app is a quick and easy way to search the web using SIRI to dictate the search string, or one may use the Text Edit field to type the info.
  • When Opening the Safari web browser it will be on the page you have set as your default, which can be Google if you choose.
  • The Pages icon at the Bottom right corner of the Safari browser screen shows the list of visited web pages. Double tap it, then double tap the private icon and all will be deleted after the done button is double tapped. Once done you should return to the Pages icon and double tap the Private icon again to unselect it.
  • At the bottom of the on-screen keyboard when you are typing a URL you will find the @ sign and period. Double tap and hold the period briefly and a list of or .org will show up. Double tap the one you want and it will be placed where your curser is situated.
  • One may close all Apps in the app switcher in order to save on resource usage. Press the Home button twice quickly in order to list the currently running Apps, then swipe left or right to access the ones you wish to close.       While on an App you wish to close you can swipe up or down with one finger to locate the Close button and double tap it. Repeat until all are closed and only the Home icon remains. Double tap it to return to your Home Screen.
  • If you don’t want Safari to save web pages you may set your default to private in the Pages icon at the bottom right corner of the safari screen.
  • Find my I-phone is a good App to have on iPhones, and to a lesser degree on iPads and iPods. Apps are also available for PC and Mac computers so that you can find that missing iPhone.
  • Some Apps for saving all your passwords are, LastPass, Password Keychain, Splash ID and One Password etc. Some are free, and others can be purchased if you wish to share them with family or on more than one device.
  • When in lists of messages you can one finger swipe up or down and you’ll get more options like delete. This is also the case in the Camera App when switching to video or picture modes. Note that Voice Over says the word “Adjustable” or “More Options” at the end. That’s your indication that a 1-finger swipe up or down will offer you additional options.
  • How to access your contacts list while talking on the phone.       The best way to do this is to use the ear bud headphones that come with your iPhone. That way you can keep the person on the phone while you scroll through the phone to find the desired number and still be able to deliver it to the person you’re talking with. The ear buds also have a switch that allows you to turn the volume up and down, as well as answer and hang up a call without having to take it out of your pocket/purse.
  • Podcast apps are Downcast, the native Podcast app, and Lier.       Others also exist, however these ones are accessible and are known by people in the room.
  • NVDA is a screen reader for the PC, and it has available some additional voices that Matt, Clement and Tyler can assist in setting up.
  • A demo was done showing how VO Calendar works, and a little on using SIRI to set-up appointments.

In the second hour we broke into smaller groups to talk about the following:

  • Betty worked with a group on strategies for editing text and VO Calendar.
  • Albert worked with Iris on how to use I-Phone earphones for answering and hanging up phone calls, pausing music and other audio players and how to move from video to picture mode on the iPhone Camera App.
  • Mat helped Mary regain the speech in Voice Over since having upgraded to iOS 9.
  • John led a group on how to use the built-in magnifier instead of Zoomtext.

The group was asked to email Shawn with their phone numbers and email addresses, as well as their preference for meeting topics, days of the week and time of day. Her email address is:

Date of the next meeting was set for Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.

The topic for the next meeting’s first hour presentation is to be announced, and will have the second hour dedicated to using iTunes.

Clement offered the following resource, blindness and low vision resources for iPhone/iPad:

Great resource for iOS stuff related to the iPhone and iPad apps for the visually impaired.

GTT WordPress Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feeds:

If you wish to follow the GTT Groups now starting to gather all over Canada, you can do so by registering your email address as follows. Registering will have you receiving each announcement in your email inbox without any effort on your part.

Here’s how to register:

  1. Point your Web Browser to,

  1. Find the Edit Field near the bottom of the Web Page called “Follow GTT Program Blog and Resources” and type in your email address.
  2. Tab to the “Sign Me Up” Button and Press the Space Bar or Enter Key.
  3. Launch your Email Program and find an email message from the GTT Program Blog and open it. *Note: if it’s not in your Inbox check the Spam/Junk Folder.
  4. Scroll through the message to find the Confirm Link and Press the Enter Key.
  5. This will take you to the GTT Program Blog and should display a message confirming that you have been successfully registered to receive ongoing Blog Posts.

Congratulations! You’re part of the GTT Team.   Welcome aboard.

To stay in touch with GTT on Twitter please follow the two Twitter Feeds listed below:

@GTTVanisle and @GTTProgram

To see what GTT is up to across Canada you can become a member of the Facebook Group at:

For more information please contact:

Albert Ruel on the West Coast:                  or          Kim Kilpatrick in Ottawa

Cell: 250-240-2343                                                                           Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968

Email:                                             Email:

2 thoughts on “GTT Vancouver Summary Notes, September 23, 2015

  1. Folks, I have just noticed that when talking about the reader that is available in safari the notes indicate that the button will be found on the right top corner, and that is incorrect. In fact the reader button will be found on the top left corner of the screen when reading articles through Safari.


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