Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)
Get Together With Technology (GTT) Campbell River
Date: January 11, 2017
Time: 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm Campbell River Library
Attendees: Members of the GTT and/or White Cane Society. 9 people attended.
Chair: Kelvin Adams
Guest Speaker: Albert Ruel
Summary Notes prepared by: Lori Rodway
Theme: Victor Reader Stream and Talking Book Machines
- Guest Speaker Albert Ruel provided an overview and demonstration of the Victor Reader Stream, which is a portable Talking Book player by Humanware that provides easy access to Direct to Player CELA Services, Bookshare, Podcasts, Internet Radio, Music, Voice Memos, etc. The VR Stream does not currently have Bluetooth capability.
- Albert noted other similar types of Talking Book players, including Plextalk Pocket (he also has this player and uses it for specific purposes), and the Blaze Reader.
- Albert discussed the different functions and demonstrated how the VR Stream works to access the different services. This included CELA, where he noted, that users could access and download books directly or have them added to the user’s bookshelf by CELA staff. Podcasts could also be accessed and saved. There is a search function which allows Podcasts, etc. to be found, for example he searched for Podcasts for the word “Blind”. There is a file structure within the VR Stream’s SD Card to save/download the various items. The structure is well defined and it was noted that if a specific file type is put into the wrong folder, the device will not announce it.
- Internet radio is also available, unfortunately, during the meeting, internet could not be accessed for this function to demonstrate it fully.
- A “notes” memo function is also available that allows for meetings to be recorded and stored, as well as quick notes like phone numbers and shopping list items. There was also a brief discussion on other research functionality available.
- It was noted that the Campbell River Library can assist people with access to CELA and other services. Two CR Librarians were introduced including the new Adult Education Coordinator Gillian who sat in on the meeting and she was invited to attend future meetings as well. The CR Library has talking book players for loan if someone wants to try talking books before investing in a player like the VR Stream.
- The VR Stream uses two types of storage, SD card and onboard storage (2-6 GB) depending on model. Some Files, like Podcasts and Daisy books can be moved from onboard to SD card as needed for storage and future retrieval, etc.
- Albert noted that it is somewhat trial and error to get used to the buttons and shortcuts, but it becomes easier as you practice, or if you read the Owner’s Manual. One important key command to remember is the long press on the number 1, which will bring focus to the VR Stream Owner’s Manual. Repeating that key command will close the manual. Through his demos of the various functions, it showed how the key/buttons can be used to access data, etc.
- Albert also described the DAISY (Digital Audio Encryption System) which was developed by a World Wide Consortium, and that is used by CELA and many Libraries for the Blind around the world. It allows for books to be accessed by section (page, chapter) etc. allowing users to move directly to a specific starting point. The VR Stream also picks up at the point where the user left off when that book/file was last accessed.
- In addition, there was general discussion about GPS technology, and how the latest offering from Humanware has the VR Stream and Trekker Breeze combined into one device called the Victor Reader Trek. The VR Stream is still sold as a stand-alone unit. Albert noted how much freedom comes from the use of some of these GPS and talking book devices, as when a blind person is walking or traveling they can use the GPS apps to know their exact location by street name, and they can listen to a book while on route. Typically, accessible GPS apps and devices offer more detailed information than GPS systems such as Google Maps, but might use a lot of storage or cellular data when installed and used.
For more information:
Kelvin Adams Kelzar@Hotmail.com or 250-895-9835
Albert Ruel Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net or 250-240-2343
The CCB was founded in 1944 by a coalition of blind war veterans, schools of the blind and local chapters to create a national self-governing organization. The CCB was incorporated by Letters Patent on May 10, 1950 and is a registered charity under the provisions of the Income Tax Act (Canada).
The purpose of the CCB is to give people with vision loss a distinctive and unique perspective before governments. CCB deals with the ongoing effects of vision loss by encouraging active living and rehabilitation through peer support and social and recreational activities.
CCB promotes measures to conserve sight, create a close relationship with the sighted community and provide employment opportunities.
The CCB recognizes that vision loss has no boundaries with respect to gender, income, ethnicity, culture, other disabilities or age.
The CCB understands in many instances vision loss is preventable and sometimes is symptomatic of other health issues. For the 21st century, the CCB is committed to an integrated proactive health approach for early detection to improve the quality of life for all Canadians.
As the largest membership organization of the blind and partially sighted in Canada the CCB is the “Voice of the Blind™”.
CCB National Office
100-20 James Street Ottawa ON K2P 0T6
Toll Free: 1-877-304-0968