Here are the meeting notes from the last GTT Toronto meeting. If anyone else on the blog has other gadgets to share with where you got them, please email
Here are the notes for our February 18 meeting. Thanks to Chris Malec for preparing these.
Jason Fayre opened the meeting with a welcome. A new announcement list has been set up to keep information flowing to members. The purpose of making a new list is to improve the usability of the list for those running it. Use will be seamless during the transition. Subscribing to the list will allow you to receive notes from each meeting. If you’re not on the list already, send an email to email@example.com with the word subscribe in the subject line or message body. If you’re already on the list you’ve been moved over. Gtt..firstname.lastname@example.org will get you in touch with the group organizers.
The meetings should be driven by the members, so if there are topics you’d like to see covered, let us know. Bring ideas up now, or email them to the organizers.
Next month the topic will be iPhone aps, presented by Martin Courcelles, who’s been in the accessibility industry for a long time. In April we may cover screen magnification, but the floor is open for other ideas. Other ideas we’re considering are: how to get audio described content, Android aps. Meetings will run till June, we’ll take the summer off, then start again in September.
Jason then introduced Donna Jodhan to present on low tech gadgets for the kitchen. Jason added that he also brought an iGrill and a talking kitchen scale, which are higher tech gadgets.
Donna began by identifying http://www.speaktome.com as a website from the U.S. where many of these gadgets come from.
The first item is a doorbell. It has 6 different chimes: it’s $29 U.S. It’s something you can set up yourself as a blind person.
The second item is a popcorn popper. It’s for the microwave. It takes 2 minutes to pop the corn with no additives. Donna has used it and likes it. The cost is $27.25 U.S.
The next item is the beep egg indicator. You drop it into a pot of water with your eggs. There are 3 distinct melodies that play, one for each level of doneness. The soft boiled melody is Oh Suzanna, medium is Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and hard boild is Hail Hail the gang’s all here. You set it to your desired doneness. $19.95 U.S.
The next item is a cooker that plays the sound of a clucking chicken when your eggs are boild, but we’re not sure what level of doneness the clucking chicken indicates. $30.
The next item is an electric hotdog cooker. It holds between 6 to 10 hotdogs, and the sound of a barking dog plays when the dogs are done. $30.95.
The next item is talking measuring cups. It measures up to 3 cups, and takes 3 double A batteries. It measures dry or wet ingredients, and costs $59.95. There’s probably a cheaper equivalent in Toronto. The next item for fun, is cups with varying sounds that chime when the cup is lifted off its dedicated platform. The sound unit detaches for washing. Each cup is 12 ounces and a set is $11.95 U.S.
The next item is a salt shaker that makes the sound of a slot machine when picked up.
Next is a liquid level indicator. You place it on the side of a glass or container. One sound tells you when you’re getting close to the top, and another sound tells you when you’ve overflowed. This one isn’t new, $12.95 U.S.
There’s a talking coffee maker, the buttons are easy to find, and it talks to you during the set up process to instruct you. Donna didn’t know the make, but will get back to gtt with that information. The speech is very clear, and tells you when your coffee is ready, and guides you through the steps of making the coffee. The last item is a timer. Many of us have timers already. Donna’s favourite timer is available from the Braille Superstore in Vancouver by mail. It’s a small unit you can attach to your belt. The timer will count down by minutes then seconds, and there are 6 different alarm sounds to choose from.
Jason opened the floor for anyone to describe favourite kitchen gadgets. Ian raised the Hamilton Beech talking microwave, and many agreed it’s a great unit. Ian said it’s one of the best devices for blind people. Some said it’s no longer available, but a member said it’s available through Blind Mice Mart. A member who works with Regal said that they sell talking scales, and the popcorn popper Donna described. Donna said one of her favourites is the knife with a guide to help slice things.
Jason described his iGrill. It’s a thermometer that has a probe that sticks into the meet, there’s another attachment that sits outside the stove and communicates with your smart phone to tell you the temperature. The cheapest model is about $60, and the most expensive is maybe $90. You can set alarms for it to go off when your desired temperature is reached. It’s not low tech, but is extremely useful. He also brought a talking kitchen scale. This is useful for precise measuring of ingredients. This is available in the CNIB store. Many devices may not be designed for blind people, but are still very useful. He found a microwave in a mainstream store that has proper buttons rather than a touch pad. He described a one cup measure that had a very distinct tactile line inside for measuring smaller amounts. A few people said that the Forman Grill is very easy to use. It has a simple tactile temperature control, only one lever.
Donna asked about accessible stoves. Is there such a thing? Jason answered that he recently got a stove that’s usable, if not entirely accessible. It’s flat top, but there is some texture to help centre a pot. It requires help initially to mark the touch screen, but starting the stove automatically sets it at 350, which is helpful. Once the buttons are labelled it’s easy to use. It’s a Whirlpool.