GTT Victoria Summary Notes:
WEDNESDAY, March 2, 2016
Held at the Greater Victoria Public Library, Main Branch Community Room from 1:00 until 3:00 PM
Bruce Turner and Kira (Captionist), Shari Adamson,Colin Lee, Douglas Crow, Josie Horsman, Vera Popovich, Skye Mundell, Linda Bartram, Trevor Jones, Karen from the Library, Gabe with Liz Farrington, Greg Koyl, John Meacham, Corry Stuive, Jill McLaren, Albert Ruel, Hanna Leavitt. Barbara Amberstone joined us after the Legislature event, and Tom Dekker sent his regrets as he was down with a cold.
Albert started the meeting by asking if the chair arrangement is satisfactory, or if tables would be beneficial. After some discussion it was offered by Karen that two or three tables will be added to the configuration for future meetings.
This was our first time using the new format of having an Open Forum for the first half of the meeting and a presentation in the second half. Albert opened the meeting to issues, items or questions from those gathered.
When is the Barrier Free BC launch now that the February 24 date was postponed? Albert offered an apology on behalf of BFBC and announced that April 6th at 11:00 AM is the new time and date. It will take place on the Steps of the BC Legislature, with a small contingent of people to attend Question Period at 1:30 PM to be introduced by Minister Stilwell and a Member of the NDP. To learn more about BFBC check out their page at http://www.BarrierFreeBC.org and sign up as a supporter, or you can email them at BarrierFreeBC@Gmail.com.
The launch will take place on the same day as the Victoria GTT meeting, however GTT will carry on as usual.
Greg K offered congratulations to Linda B for her presentation to City Council in order to get Victoria to be the first City/Town in BC to offer its support to BFBC. Recently Rob Sleath and Councillor Loveday were featured on the Ian Jessop Radio Show on CFAX talking about BFBC.
Questions were asked about the Income Assistance rate increase recently announced, and the retraction of the subsidised Bus Pass for PWD receiving Income Assistance. At Noon today some groups are gathered on the Legislature Lawn to protest this issue. Linda B offered a more comprehensive explanation of the issue as it’s currently known
The Vancouver Transit system will demand that all passengers use the Compass Card starting soon. In order to receive a free temporary Compass Card when travelling to the Translink areas you must contact Marianne Ward at the CNIB and she will mail you one in time for your planned trip. The pass will be for 24-hours only, and Marianne needs to know the exact days you will be in the area so that she can provide the correctly dated cards for your use. Please allow enough time for the card to arrive in your mailbox. She can be reached at Marianne.Ward@CNIB.caa. For additional information on the Compass Card check out ASIC at http://www.ASICBC.ca, and the article found at, http://www.asicbc.ca/Pages/WhatWeHaveDone.aspx#WWD13.
Trekker Breeze on the Capital Regional Transit System, a small group of local GTT members have been working on a Briefing Note intended to be sent to members of local government and the Transit Commission to alert them of our issues with this personal device being used as a Transit accessibility system. It is our belief that it is mostly inadequate and that a proper and complete system ought to be implemented as soon as possible. Once the Briefing Note is ready we’ll circulate it to the GTT members.
As each of you travel on local Transit Busses please let us know of your experiences by telling us the time and date you travelled, the bus route you were travelling on, whether the Trekker was operating or not, whether the volume was too high or too low, and what support you received from the driver related to how the Trekker is functioning. You are encouraged to contact Tom Dekker at Me@TomDekker.ca, Hanna Leavitt at HLeavitt@Telus.net or Albert Ruel at GTTWest@CCBNational.net with those experiences.
Vera did try out the iOS app introduced to the last meeting called Find My Yellow Ducky, and she noted that there are no graphics accompanying this app. As a sighted iPad user she would like to have pictures to look at while playing it. Hanna tried to find it, however wasn’t able to do so as Albert gave them an incorrect name. She will now give it a go. Also, Albert suggested that users contact the app developers when features are missing or not working as well as they could. Many blind app users have found success in getting changes made to apps when they ask.
John M asked about the availability of an app that can read a Magazine subscription called Sinio that is circulated by the Public Library system. This system appears to be graphics based, so we will ask GTT members to check it out for accessibility and report back. Tom Dekker will contact Library staff to arrange a time to work with them in evaluating the app for use by Voice Over users.
A discussion took place on the difference between the Voice Dream Reader app and Voice Over on iOS Devices. VO allows access to the features and functions of the iOS Device, and VDR provides access to written and recorded material imported to the iOS Device in question.
Karen from the Library outlined that three audio book services currently exist for accessing Public Library audio collections, Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library and Hoopla. Tom has evaluated Overdrive and indicates that it is not accessible, however that the 3M Cloud Library is very accessible. Hoopla has not been tested by GTT Victoria members yet and will be looked at over the coming months.
If blind or partially sighted public library users need help with their devices and these services please book a 30-minute session of one-on-one support. If additional time is required additional sessions can be arranged. Karen believes that the 3M Cloud Library is available on iOS and Android Devices as well as the computer.
Colin indicated that his iPhone uses a lot of battery power when reading text material with VO just to light up the screen, however that when using VDR he is able to lock the screen thereby saving battery life. The Screen Curtain feature of VO was demonstrated and explained as a means of blanking out the screen while still having complete access with VO. Another power saving strategy was demonstrated and explained called Low Power Mode. This turns off all background refresh functions so that battery life will be preserved. Low Power Mode is also a good way to speed up the recharging of your iOS Device, as is turning on Airplane Mode. When the iOS Device isn’t doing any work it naturally charges more quickly. Other strategies like turning down Notifications and screen brightness were also suggested as strategies for saving battery life. Note that the telephone will not work if Airplane Mode is turned on, and that the telephone still works when Low Power Mode is turned on.
External battery packs were discussed, everything from iPhone cases that contain an additional battery, and separate battery packs that are connected by cable to the iPhone for recharging. A wide range of options can be purchased at many electronic stores/departments.
Trevor asked if JAWS is compatible with Windows 10. Skye indicated that JAWS Versions 16, 17 and ZoomText are compatible, as are Window Eyes, System Access and NVDA. Albert will double check that System Access is actually fully functional with Windows 10.
Other topics related to Win10 were discussed, like how to create a new folder or Desktop Shortcut, what external devices are or are not compatible with Win10 like the Cannon Lide 60 scanner.
Existing software are mostly compatible with Win10, like OpenBook 9, Office 2003 etc.
A question was asked about the quality of de-columnized pages in OpenBook that contain a mixture of single and multiple columns. Another issue raised is the matter of OpenBook requiring the user to scan an additional time to determine whether the page is right side up or not. To do so, load the page on your scanner and launch OB, then access the Acquire Menu and click on Check Orientation. The scanner will take an image of the document on the scanner and indicate whether it’s upside down or right side up.
DocuScan is recommended as a very compatible and easy to use scan and read package that works well with Win10 and most camera or flatbed scanners. DocuScan will convert PDF and many other formats. If used through a web browser it is recommended that Internet Explorer is used for maximum accessibility. Check it out at, http://www.docuscanplus.com/en/.
Greg K suggested that this open forum in the first hour is a great idea, and Hanna L further suggested that any questions to be dealt with at an upcoming meeting be sent to the facilitator in advance so that research can be done for the best solution.
The second hour was reserved for a demonstration of the Apple Music App on the iPhone 6. It’s a subscription based music service that provides access to about 30,000,000 songs from around the world. A monthly subscription will cost about $9.99 USD for an individual subscription and $14.99 USD for a family, which allows up to 6 users to access the account. There are two types of music that will be on your device once you subscribe, the stuff you paid for and own, and the stuff you are currently renting from Apple on a monthly basis. When you unsubscribe your purchased music will remain, however all the rest of it will disappear.
Albert went over the tabs and features of the device and demonstrated how one might use Apple Music. There are,
Radio Tab, which allows the user to select a genre of music and have a mixture of that music played without advertisements or news breaks. This might be better called a Playlist rather than a Radio.
Search Tab, allows the user to search for songs, artists, albums etc.
My Music, which is the stuff I have purchased and that is loaded on the iPhone.
Connect Tab, is a means for the user to contact artists and others in the music business.
New Tab, is where one can search for what’s new in the last few months etc. Keep in mind, this doesn’t just mean what’s newly released, but also what has been added to Apple Music recently. Much of it might be old material for which Apple has just received approval to distribute.
For You Tab, is where Apple will collect samples of what you are most interested in based on what you listen to the most.
Apple Music also uses Siri to fetch songs/artists/playlists or types of music, or you can ask Siri what is playing in the background and he/she will listen briefly then announce the song and artist. During the demonstration Albert attempted to have Cashmere by Led Zeppelin played, however Siri wasn’t able to locate/understand the request. When it was tried later the artist was spoken first with the name of the song following and Siri found the correct song. Sometimes these things must be tried in different ways to find what works best, and the level of Cellular or WI-FI signal will also impact the degree of accuracy for Siri.
For those who use Shaw Cable you can install the Stingray Music, used to be called Galaxy app and it will give you access to all the Radio Stations they broadcast through their Cable Subscription.
Another app for iOS that provides access to Radio Stations online is Tune In Radio. This will have you listening to actual Radio Stations that broadcast through WI-FI.
A question was asked about accessing Radio Stations like BBC, or audio book download sites like CELA when not at home connected to our Internet Service Providers. For those who use Shaw Internet, there is a free service that allows the user to connect too many free Shaw Open WI-FI sites throughout our communities. It is called Shaw Go WI-FI, however it will not work for devices like the VR Stream or the Plextalk Linio Pocket.
The next meeting will be held at the Greater Victoria Public Library in the Community Room from 1:00 until 3:00 PM on April 6, 2016/ We will further discuss the Trekker Breeze initiative as a Transit GPS solution, the Barrier Free BC launching on the same date, and anything else those gathered wish to raise.
Albert A. Ruel