GTT Edmonton Meeting February 8, 2016
The most recent meeting of the Get Together With Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held February 8 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
14 people attended.
Special Note: The group observed a minute of silence in memory of a dear friend and member, Harold Schnellert, who passed away January 27, 2016. Harold was the husband of Wendie Schnellert our volunteer treasurer. Harold was also the former president of CCB National. Both Harold and Wendie were instrumental in supporting the start of GTT Edmonton. Our hearts and prayers go out to Wendie and her family. We will all miss Harold.
February Feature Topic – Free Screen Readers
Ximena (pronounced Menna) presented her Apple MAC. Highlights:
• Mac has a screen magnification Zoom feature included (Command, Options + or Command options -) The two buttons next to the space bar and + to zoom in – to zoom out.
• Voice over (the built in talking screen reader) is easily accessed (Command F5). Command key is on either side of the space bar.
• VoiceOver has multiple voices to choose from both male & female.
• The Mac even has Described Video Access through the settings Accessibility menu.
• If you have follow-up questions, Menna may be contacted at email@example.com
Russel presented Window Eyes screen reader for PCs. Highlights:
• Window Eyes is a powerful screen reader for Windows PCs.
• You may download Window Eyes for Free if you have a licensed copy of Microsoft Office 2010 or later installed on your computer. You can download it from:
• Window Eyes provides support for braille.
• eSpeak and the Microsoft Speech Platform are included.
• you can also purchase Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive voices from any Canadian distributor. There is a list of distributors at the above web site.
• Window Eyes will conveniently unmute your computer if it is muted when you start the program.
• You can easily modify speech rate, volume, and tone using Control+Alt+ arrow keys.
• Window Eyes is a product of AI Squared who also make the Zoomtext screen magnification software.
• If you do not have Microsoft Office you may also purchase Window Eyes from Aroga.
Lorne presented the free screen reader NVDA for PCs. Highlights:
• NVDA (non visual desktop access) is a powerful open source screen reader for Windows PCs.
• It is used by over 60,000 users in over 120 countries and 40 languages.
• The NVDA project was started by two blind programmers in Brisbane, Australia. You can download it free from:
• They request a donation which helps to continue NVDA development especially to make it available in developing countries.
• NVDA keyboard commands are similar to JAWS.
• NVDA provides support for braille.
The built-in text to speech voice is eSpeak.
Other voices including Eloquence and Vocalizer Expressive can be purchased as add-ons.
• There are many other NVDA add-ons developed by programmers around the world to do many additional tasks. You can learn more about the add-ons at:
• Because NVDA is free and used extensively, many Windows software companies now test the accessibility of their programs using NVDA as their benchmark.
After Sight Device
• Mike McWilliams asked members if adding a directional audio indicator to his After Sight device would be of use to help you walk a straight line such as when crossing an intersection or open area. Participants were enthusiastic about adding this feature.
• Mike is also hopeful the object recognition database can be expanded from 1000 to 5000 objects.
• You may contact Mike McWilliams at:403-488-1247 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Meeting (Monday March 14 at 7pm)
• Our member, Owais, will present his HIMS BrailleSense note taker and show the power of computing and using the Internet with Braille.
• Gerry will present the online functions of the Victor Reader Stream new generation including Podcasts, Bookshare, radio, Wikipedia/Wiktionary lookups, and Direct to Player books.
• Send your meeting topic ideas to GTT.Edmonton@gmail.com.
Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
• Meetings are typically every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.
GTT Edmonton Team
• Carrie Anton is visually impaired and is the accessibility specialist for Athabasca University.
• Gerry Chevalier is blind. He is retired from HumanWare where he worked as the Product Manager for the Victor Reader line of talking book players.
• Heather MacDonald is the specialist for CNIB career and employment services. She has a wealth of experience helping blind and visually impaired people with the challenges of finding employment.
• Russell Solowoniuk is blind and works with alternative formats and assistive technology at Grant MacEwan University.
• Lorne Webber is blind and is the accessibility specialist for Norquest College.
GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• There are GTT groups in Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Northern Ontario, Sydney, Edmonton, Victoria, Nanaimo, Vancouver, and more to come.
• There is also a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference.
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting will present a feature technology topic and general question and answer about any other technology.
• Small groups or 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 questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
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