GTT Victoria Summary Notes
December 2, 2015
Attendance: David Shrive, Robin Love, Saanich Volunteer Services Society, Tom Dekker, Albert Ruel, Bruce Turner, Lorna Pophum, Skye Mundell, Linda Bartram, Susan Gallagher, Corry Stuive, Annalese Ryan, Susan Stepen, Erin Lacharity, Heidi Propp, Sabine Laubental, Greg Koyl, Trevor Jones and Josie Horsman.
Tom welcomed everyone to the meeting saying that this is GTT Victoria’s first meeting of its second year in existence.
1. Barrier Free BC/ British Columbians with Disabilities Act:
Albert gave a brief presentation on the progress of the Barrier Free BC initiative and how it relates to the AODA in Ontario, the Manitobans with Disabilities Act and the initiative launched for a Canadians with Disabilities Act. The BC Government through its White Paper indicated a willingness to look at such an Act for BC, so the Barrier Free BC group will be using the next 18 months to secure commitments from the Political Parties and MLA candidates toward a BCDA. Organizations and individuals are encouraged to provide Barrier Free BC with letters of support as it moves this initiative forward.
On the website Barrier Freen BC offers a “Just Say Yes” Tool Kit that gives interested parties many suggestions on how to become involved, including a sample resolution that may be passed by any organization board which will provide Barrier Free BC the needed support.
Albert Moved and Tom seconded that GTT Victoria support Barrier Free BC. Passed unanimously.
To contact this organization you can email BarrierFreeBC@Gmail.com, or visit the website at http://www.Barrier FreeBC.org. On Twitter they can be followed @BarrierFreeBC and on Facebook at Barrier Free BC.
Many in attendance offered to contact organizations like IDHH, Victoria DRC and MS Society to encourage their participation in these two initiatives. All are welcomed.
2. Advocacy and the GTT Group:
Tom read a document outlining some of the advocacy initiatives being undertaken by some GTT Victoria members, like BC Transit talking GPS system, Barrier Free BC indoor navigation systems and other access needs of the blind and low vision population. This group is meeting with City Councilors, MLAs and MPs with a view to moving the advocacy agenda forward. For more info please contact Tom Dekker.
This group is attempting to retain the GTT program as a peer mentoring gathering and will report back on progress made on the advocacy front. Please share your ideas for this group and when group participation is required all will be asked to pitch in. For now the size of the group is manageable.
Linda B asked about how this group will fit into the City of Victoria’s Accessibility Committee. Tom D and Greg K will attend their upcoming meeting to see how we can consolidate all efforts toward a more accessible community.
3. Podcasts and the VR Stream DAISY Player:
Tom talked about the last meeting’s podcast app demo he provided and how important he finds them to be as a self-teaching tool. So many podcasts are freely available online for all things technological, so all are urged to learn how to use their specific devices to access podcasts. Albert demonstrated the New Generation VR Stream as another means of getting to all this free learning.
Albert walked through the process of connecting the Stream to his iPhone in order to access the internet for downloading. WIFI connections are the usual way to do this, however for demonstration purposes an iPhone was used today.
The Podcast app was accessed and a search was created to find CBC podcasts. One hundred and twenty were found, so the Stream was navigated through a few of them to show how they are listed and labelled. Some were subscribed to by pressing the Confirm Key, then played by pressing the Play/Pause Key. Once a podcast is subscribed to the 3 newest episodes will automatically download each time your player connects to the WIFI in the same way that it downloads audio books from your CNIB Library subscription.
Tom mentioned how much easier it is to listen to a podcast about the iPhone while listening to it on a separate device like the Stream. It’s too difficult to listen to a tutorial podcast on the same device that you are trying to learn. This goes for any computer related tutorials you might wish to use as well.
Albert also demonstrated how to access the Internet Radio available on the VR Stream. Although there are many stations already pre-programmed in the device, many more can be searched from all around the world. Searches can be done by genre or title.
The other player on the market that costs the same as the VR Stream is the Plextalk Linio Pocket. It boasts the same range of features as the Stream, and one more. Plextalk has a calendar for appointments.
Someone indicated that monthly payments can be arranged through PayPal for the purchase of items like the Stream. Check this out at:
Someone asked if MS Word files can be saved to the Stream. The answer is yes for both the VR Stream and the Plextalk Pocket. In fact, the related desktop units produced by the same manufacturers as the above devices can also use MS Word files. Support in learning how to do this is available through Albert at 1-877-304-0968, Ext. 550.
Some people have been successful in having devices like the Stream funded through Technology@Work as something that supports their paid or volunteer work. Contact Albert Ruel or Tom Dekker if you have questions about how to access Tech@Work and how assistive devices will be evaluated for eligibility.
A tutorial on how to search for and download CNIB books onto the Stream has been produced by Gerry Chevalier, GTT Edmonton, called “CNIB digital library audio tutorial”, and is available as a DAISY download, a DAISY CD, Direct to Player and online streaming from the CELA and CNIB Libraries.
Also, Mystic Access has produced a professional tutorial that covers all aspects of the New Gen VR Stream which can be purchased through Humanware/Aroga for approximately $100. Contact Steve@Aroga.com, 1-800-561-6222:
If anyone wants one on one instruction on how to access podcasts or internet radio stations on the VR Stream, or with their specific devices please contact Tom or Albert and they’ll attempt to connect you with a peer who can help, or they’ll help you directly.
Someone asked what podcast stands for and while Albert and Tom struggled to sort out what it might be, Corry S was researching it on his iDevice. POD stands for Playable On Demand.
4. Additional Accessible Apps for the Computer:
Other accessible aps for the computer were discussed, like QCast for podcasts, QRead for accessing all manner of audio files and converting them to formats that are compatible with your specific devices, and Chicken Nugget which makes Twitter far more accessible and usable. These are all produced by blind programmers for blind computer users.
Someone asked if texting can be done from the computer, and Lorna P indicated that she does this with her grandchildren. Her husband set up a contact in the email program that allows her to send and receive text messages with specific people.
5. ZoomText Fusion:
ZoomText Fusion was asked about, which is the latest offering from AI-Squared where they have married the ZoomText magnifier with Window Eyes. This now means that a full functioning screen reader is available for ZT users as they transition from using magnification to speech for accessing information on the computer screen. For more info contact Richard or Wanda at AbleTech, Info@AbleTech.ca. For more info on the ZT Fusion app:
Sky Mundell is working with it and will be available to teach people who need this tool. A special price exists for ZT users to upgrade for the time being, so if you’re interested contact your local vender like AbleTech.
Bruce asked if an iPhone can convert text to speech and speech to text? Tom indicated that further conversation can happen around this, and that he might access Technology@Work to request such a range of devices as an iPhone and compatible hearing aids to support his volunteer work with IDHH. It was recommended that he contact Wendy C at the Victoria DRC.
7. Additional Apps and Devices:
Brief discussions on the Fitbit, OrCam and BuzzClip took place. These items have either been demonstrated recently, or will be available in the spring for further trialing.
Tom mentioned a pair of shoes from India that will use Wayfinding technology to deliver information to the wearer through vibration to indicate whether the destination is on the left or right, or if obstacles are standing in the way.
8. Book Clubs:
On the third Thursday of each month the GVPL hosts an Audio Book Club, and the CCB hosts a teleconference Book Club on the forth Saturday of each month. For additional information call Karen at the Greater Victoria Public Library, or Albert for the CCB book club.
9. GTT/CCB Dues Are Due:
Someone offered up some Christmas cake, and Albert indicated that 2016 GTT/CCB membership dues are due. Please contact Albert or Tom if you haven’t yet paid your dues.
The next meeting of the GTT Victoria group will be on January 6, 2016 at the GVPL Community Room from 1:00 until 3:30 PM. The topic will be the Microsoft Ribbons and how to use them, and for the second hours bring your devices and questions for the group to assist with.
Albert Ruel, GTT West Coordinator