Attendees: Clement, Matthew, Shaw, Lilo, Carol, Fay, Louise, Pat, John, Mary, Albert and Bruce.
iTunes on the PC for downloading music:
Matt started the presentation by outlining what iTunes is and what it can do.
• It is an audio and video player
• A means of downloading music, audio books and movies from the iTunes Store
• A means of organizing music into Playlists
• A means of uploading music and Playlists to iDevices
• Select the Radio Button you wish to work with using your Space Bar, IE, Music, Movies, TV Shows, Audio Books, iPhone Etc. and the screen will refresh to provide controls for those actions.
• Once the list of Music is found you can use your Arrow Buttons to locate the one you want and press the Enter Key to play it
• When playing music the Space Bar pauses and resumes playing
• Shift Tab to the Songs Button then pressing the Space Bar will allow the user to show lists of Songs, Albums, Artists Etc. Press the Enter Key then Tab back to the corresponding list
• For JAWS users the add-on program called Leasey helps make iTunes a far easier app to use
• The above assumes that your playable content is already saved on the computer’s hard drive
• When saving music to the iTunes Library it will attempt to organize it for you, and those preferences can be changed if you prefer something else
• To Search for songs, Tab to the Search Edit field then to Search Options and select whether to search for songs, albums or artists
• From all the music saved on the computer’s hard drive the user can select a shorter list of them into a Playlist for uploading to an iDevice
• Tab through the iTunes window to find the Playlist Radio Button and press the Space Bar
• Tab to New Playlist and press the Space Bar
• The user will be asked to name it
• Using the Edit Playlist to Add Songs isn’t a screen reader friendly way to add songs
• Tab to My Music Radio Button and press the Space Bar then Tab to find the list of songs
• Arrow to the song you wish to add then press the Applications Menu Key to find the Add to Playlist Submenu
• Right Arrow into the Submenu then Down Arrow to find the Playlist you wish to insert the song into
• The user can select several songs at once then follow the above steps to add them all at once to a Playlist
Note: It is recommended that you spend time playing with iTunes in order to familiarize yourself. It might be like visiting your friend’s house for the first time where you can’t know where everything is. Each time you visit you’ll become more and more familiar. Also, if you organize the music in folders you create it will become easier to use because the organization of it was of your doing.
Clement presented how to organize and synchronize music to the iPhone:
• Start by organizing the music on the computer into lists and folders you can easily work with
• Once songs are synced to your iDevice you can organize them in ways that work best for your usage, like albums, songs or artists
• In preferences on your iDevice you can choose to unsync songs which will only remove them from the iDevice and not the computer
• When you remove a song from iTunes it will ask if you wish to delete it, which if chosen will then remove it from the iDevice the next time it’s connected to the computer and synchronized
• Synchronizing means that if a song is purchased on the iDevice it will sync to the computer, and if purchased on the computer it will sync to the iDevice when connected. The same goes for the deletion of songs
• The iTunes account will be your central synchronizing point from which all iDevices signed into that account will exchange music, so that Playlists created in iTunes will upload to your iPad, iPod and iPhone when connected
• iCloud is another way to synchronize all iDevices, however it is independent of iTunes. A separate session could be done just on iCloud
• The iTunes interface can be decluttered by turning off things not being used like, Podcasts, Audio Books Etc.
• To download music from iTunes in the computer you will Tab to the iTunes Store and press the Space Bar
• Shift Tab to the Search Edit Field and search for a song, album or artist
• Once a search is done the listing will look like a web page, so Quick Navigation Keys like H for Headings can be used to explore the results
• To explore an album press the Enter Key on the album name link and the songs will be displayed in another web page
• Songs can be previewed, purchased individually or the entire album
• When searching for songs, the album information is also made available in the Search Results Table for previewing
• Once purchased all will be listed in the iTunes Library alphabetically by album, song or artist depending on how you have asked the computer to list them
• To synchronize the music to your iDevice you connect the device to the computer using a USB cable, then select the iDevice in the list of Radio Buttons in iTunes
• Once the iDevice is checked by using the Space Bar you can Tab through the list of controls to an icon labelled Sync and use the Space Bar to activate it
• The user can select to have all music synchronized, or only the items specifically chosen
• There are many controls in iTunes to be explored, so play with it to determine how you wish iTunes to synchronize with your iDevices
Other music playing apps for the computer are, Winamp, Foobar, Windows Media Player and Spotify.
The Albert A. Ruel Road to Blindness
A 21 year old man stood on the beach at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park with friends early in May of 1977, and upon gazing across the lake found the Gulf Oil sign missing from the dock-side filling station there. When this fact was shared with his companions they glanced at him with puzzled looks and said, “No Albert, the sign is still there”.
That was the beginning of a road through confusion, anger, isolation, loneliness and discovery for me. It all began with a visit to a local Optometrist who could see that my vision wasn’t right, but that corrective lenses wouldn’t help. He then referred me to a General Practitioner, where I received a clean bill of health and an additional referral. This time to an Ophthalmologist. Immediately upon peering through the dilated pupils, Dr. McKerricher was able to see the problem, Retinal Vasculitis.
Now, you would think that all would start to improve at this point, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You see, CNIB, from 1918 until 1985 only served the needs of people who were “Legally Blind”, a level of vision loss I wouldn’t reach until November of 1979. The words of Dr. McKerricher still echo in my mind today, “Albert, I don’t know what has caused this and nothing we’ve tried is helping to stop it, and you’re not blind enough for me to refer you to CNIB”!
In the middle of this transition from 20/20 vision to “Legally Blind” came the Motor Vehicle Branch and it’s rules of the road. On August 3, 1978 I drove a car for the last time as my vision had reached the level at which operating a motor vehicle became too dangerous, further intensifying feelings of fear, isolation and anger. Sadly, through this period the only available guidance and support was through family and friends, but not the experienced professionals I needed at the time. Although these support systems are critically important they can often be smothering and facilitating, rather than encouraging and supportive.
With gratitude, and some trepidation I finally was able to access CNIB services in November of 1979, and the world opened up then. There I was able to meet other blind people and receive the daily living and mobility skills required to live independently in this sighted world. I learned elementary braille and began to discover technology as necessary tools of independence.
Thankfully, in 1985 CNIB’s National Board altered the course of service to visually impaired Canadians forever. They added a third prong to their Mission Statement, “To promote sight enhancement services”. This opened the door to all Canadians who were beginning to lose sight, as well as those who had a fear of vision loss to access the full range of CNIB Support and Rehabilitation Services. So now, whether it’s someone’s Mother who is experiencing Macular Degeneration, or an Uncle experiencing the affects of Glaucoma, all have the ability to seek information, guidance and support as all involved deal with the fear and anxiety that accompanies such life altering experiences.
With the help of professional Rehabilitation Workers and Employment Counselors I was able to continue traveling independently within my own community, and even more remarkably anywhere in the world I desired to go. I managed to attend College in Nanaimo and New Westminster, as well as traveling to the Mayo Clinic and to doctor’s appointments in Nanaimo and Vancouver without assistance. All of this while living with some usable vision, but not yet needing a white cane for travel.
During the mid 1980’s I was a stay-at-home Dad and did all that was required of that challenging work, from changing diapers to preparing meals, and from cutting the grass to maintaining our home. I even took a woodworking course through Alberni’s Adult Education program and built and restored several pieces of furniture. Of course the 1958 Chevy Impala in the garage was my pride and joy, and I devised ways to do much of the work it required.
I also joined and participated in many community activities, like the local Car Club, and a disability support group that catered to the needs of people with many different disabilities. Of course, continued participation in family life remained of critical importance through this period.
In 1989 a secondary condition began to extinguish the vision that remained, which set into motion a new stream of professional rehabilitation services and supports. By the spring of 1990 Glaucoma had turned out the lights completely, and the darkness I had feared so desperately was upon me. Strangely though, I found this to be a great relief rather than the tragedy I had imagined it would be.
Through several professional rehabilitation sessions, and by joining peer mentoring and advocacy groups I was able to come to terms with this strange feeling, and to learn additional skills and strategies for living with no visual cues of the world around me. This is also about the time that I decided to explore CNIB as an employer, and to see if I could provide the sort of guidance and support to others that had been my pleasure to receive. Those 14 years were a wonderful experience of ongoing discovery for me, as teaching may be the best way to solidify one’s own learning. In other words, those we assist through this transition in turn help us all as we develop best practices and improved service.
Following a 14 year career with CNIB I also served the blind community as the first National Equality Director employed by the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC), and as a Basic Computer Literacy Trainer with the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB). Most recently I have enjoyed coordinating the CCB’s newly launched Get Together with Technology Program in Western Canada, which brings to the fore my passion for assistive technology and the power of peer mentoring.
Without sight I have continued to travel far and wide, with trips to Conventions of and for the Blind in Anaheim California and Melbourne Australia, as well as to many events and activities in Toronto and Vancouver. Of course my work has taken me to many communities throughout Western Canada, and most particularly nearly all regions of BC and on Vancouver Island. None of which would have been possible without the services and support of organizations like CCB, AEBC and CNIB.
For most people blindness generates a fear of extended movement, both within one’s home and community, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Independence comes from personal desire and increased skill. Many community organizations can assist with both through their mentoring and skill development programs. I remember always that life has little to do with what happens to me and 100% what I do about/with it. There is a quote I like to use from the National Federation of the Blind in the USA, “With adequate skill development and opportunity blindness can be reduced to the level of a nuisance”, and nothing could be closer to the truth.
Helen Keller said many years ago, “There is nothing more tragic than someone who has sight, but no vision”. She also challenged the Lions Clubs of the world to become the “Knights of the Blind, and to take up the crusade against darkness”. I too joined a Lions Club in 1992 and continue to work on the crusade that Helen Keller began in the 1920-s.
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