GTT Victoria Summary Notes, Low Tech Accessible Devices and Apps, May 2, 2018

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria


A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with

Greater Victoria Public Library


Summary Notes

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room


The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by Albert Ruel


Attendance, There were 15 individuals in Attendance. Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting. We were privileged to welcome Kelvin Adams from the Campbell River CCB/GTT chapter (and the newest member of the CCB BC-Yukon Division Board) to our meeting.


Albert Gave everyone a brief overview of the 2018 CCB BC-Yukon Division AGM held on April 25th in Langley BC. Both Albert Ruel and Corry Stuive were in attendance. During the afternoon of the AGM a presentation was given on Emergency Preparedness. A lengthy discussion ensued amongst the group including our responsibilities as persons with disabilities, what to put into an emergency kit, where to keep it, etc. Albert stressed his number one takeaway from the CCB AGM session as being, It’s our responsibility to be prepared and as self sufficient as possible. Don’t simply expect the emergency responders to “look after us” just because we have vision issues.


Mike Carpenter added a great deal to the conversation including, if possible pack a little extra into a kit to perhaps help another person or two. Keep in mind there might not be cell, Hydro, internet or gas services available so be prepared. Make sure you have lots of water, food, medicine, some money and don’t forget your pets. Ham radio might in fact be one, if not the only source of communication still available in the event of really big emergencies.


The Nationwide Emergency Alert that will be tested next week was also discussed. The test in BC will take place on May 9th at 1:55pm. All radio, television and cell phones (connected to an LTE network) should receive a test notice at that time.


Low Tech Accessible and Affordable Solutions:

From there the topic moved to Low cost tech solutions and Albert informed the group that a new CCB Tech Email Distribution List is now available where you can buy, sell and/or trade used assistive equipment/software. To participate simply send an email to the following address:

Wanted items are welcome, as are Commercial venders to list previously enjoyed items but may not list new product offerings.


Older equipment seamed to be the preferred choice of many in the room as a solution for a low cost entry point into the assistive tech market, particularly in regards to smart phones. Some alternative software and apps were discussed (like BeMyEyes as opposed to Aira, or NVDA as opposed to JAWS, etc.)


Tom announced that a Major Windows 10 update is starting to roll out tonight for all users. Also for those using screen magnification apps on their PC computers, Tom recommended the following video be watched for help and guidance in setting it up and to learn more about some of the new magnification features:


QCast, QRead and Chicken Nugget were also talked about as very accessible and affordable means of accessing Podcasts, News Feeds and Twitter respectively from the PC computer.  Here’s what they say on their website:

“Accessible Apps creates high quality accessible software for the blind.


We make useful, innovative software, the kind blind people hope someone will make but can’t really find anywhere else. Why do we say this? Our development team is made up of blind people who have many of the same needs. We write software because we need to do something, and we can’t find an accessible way to do it. Our mission is to create software that improves the computing experience for blind and visually impaired people. We’re committed to innovation, and accessible, affordable software.”


The apps they produce are obtainable for demo or purchase at the following URL:


After a break the conversation continued and centered on some low tech ideas. A tactile sewing tape measure, Braille and talking watches, sock sorters and lock-Dots were discussed. The Braille Superstore, MaxiAids and Shop CNIB were three purchasing options suggested by group members.


Under the category of general discussion:

Downloading audio and electronic text based books from the library was raised and talked about. Some of the locations for such downloads are, BookShare, Dolphin EasyReader, Hoopla and Overdrive. More information will be forthcoming during the June 6, 2018 GTT Victoria meeting when Scott Munro from the Greater Victoria Public Library will give the group an overview of services and products available through GVPL.


In closing:

Mike Carpenter gave everyone a quick update on the CCB Health and Fitness initiative. Mike is a local champion with that CCB project, and he told us about a Nationwide Virtual 5K challenge coming up on June 1.  He invited everyone to get involved, and also generously offered his time and energy to anyone interested in improving/maintaining good health and fitness after vision loss.  He can be reached at any time by calling or emailing him at, +1-250-384-5644 or


Meeting adjourned at 2:50 PM.

Next meeting: June 6, 2018

(Note, the June meeting will be our last until September.)


Meeting notes submitted by Corry Stuive


GTT Victoria Overview

  • GTT Victoria is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Victoria promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • 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.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

There is a Follow link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.


National GTTSupport Email distribution List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:


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