GTT Edmonton Meeting Notes, Independent Living Skills, January 13, 2020

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting January 13, 2020


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held January13 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

17 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading. Read the Additional Resources section following the meeting notes to learn about our one on one telephone support, the National monthly teleconference, and the support email list.


January Topic –Independent Living Skills

We had a robust round table open discussion on independent living skills. People talked about their strategies and tech they use to perform everyday tasks. The topic turned out to be one of our more interesting ones. The discussion lasted nearly two hours with lots of enthusiasm and lots of ideas shared about how to do everyday tasks. Many of the tasks relied on common sense approaches as well as using tech. Following is a brief summary of the discussion.


 how to get the bus:

  • Google the destination to be aware of its surroundings.
  • Use the ETS app or Transit app.
  • Don’t be shy. Ask someone at the bus stop.
  • You can use the AIRA app which provides trained sighted agents to help you get to the stop by using the video camera on your phone. It was pointed out that AIRA now provides the first 5 minutes of each sighted assistance session for free.


How to shop:

  • Many people remember the location in the store of products they use regularly.
  • Customer service can be a great help.
  • Seeing AI app can be useful for reading product labels and info.
  • Place an order online and pickup (Superstore) or get delivery for about $9 (from Save On Foods. Save On has a code that allows you to use 2500 Save On points for free delivery. This code saves you a lot more than using your points for anything else.
  • Use Be My Eyes app to have a volunteer guide you and describe your item by looking through the video camera of your phone. It was mentioned that, unlike AIRA which uses paid trained agents, Be My Eyes uses volunteers so there may be a wait for a volunteer to engage you.


How to Cook:

  • Use an Instant Pot. Put everything in it at once. Seasoning is everything! Use less liquid so it is thicker. If you get the Bluetooth InstaPot, then you can control all the settings from an app.
  • Label stove with dots for “Start”, “Medium”, “High” etc.
  • Label microwave critical buttons such as #5, Power, Start, and Clear.
  • Modern induction burners are appealing because they only heat the steel pot, the burner does not get hot.
  • Use smaller knives so less likely to cut yourself.
  • When grilling on the BBQ, get a 2-sided spatula with attached tong (you can slide the spatula under the food, and then squeeze the food with the tong, so you can easily flip the food.
  • Use a boiling water probe to tell the level of hot water in a cup.
  • To avoid messy bacon frying, cook bacon at 350 degrees in the oven (on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Add milk to eggs and scramble them in a frying pan. When you press on them and they don’t make a squishy sound, they are done.
  • When browning meat such as ground beef, it will feel dry to the touch when it is fully browned. More frying is safer than less.
  • Organize spices in baggies and /or in same size containers using braille labels if you know braille.
  • Put braille labels on spice containers and refill the same labelled container when it is used up.
  • Sometimes can tell the difference with texture or smell
  • Use braille recipe card labels and secure them to tin cans with rubber bands. Put the card aside when you open the can and it becomes your shopping list.


How to do Laundry:

  • Use the “Seeing AI app to help sort colors of clothes.
  • Buy clothing in similar colors, so they will match, and can be washed together.
  • Avoid white clothes, which might absorb other colors.
  • Use “Color Catchers” or “Dye Magnets” which absorb colors that run from clothes. They are like dryer sheets, but you put them in the washing machine. London Drugs carries them.
  • Use sock pairing devices (CNIB has them), or buy same color socks, or socks with different textures so you can tell the difference.



  • Hotels have more services and help available.
  • The Travel Eyes organization pairs sighted and non-sighted  individuals to travel together on trips.
  • Use headphones that do not cover your ears such as the popular bone conducting headphones from Aftershokz.
  • Use an app for GPS navigation and orientation such as Blind Square or Microsoft Soundscape.
  • Can do both touring and mountain biking with a tandem bicycle and an experienced captain.
  • Be aware of what insurance covers.
  • Wear good boots, jacket, all weather gear, be sure clothing is reflective.


House Cleaning:

  • Feel with your hands what needs cleaning.
  • Clean once a week because it probably needs it.
  • Use an app like AIRA or Be My Eyes to get help to tell you if an area is clean.


  • Smart apps can be used to control lights, thermostats etc.
  • If you are going into college or university, be sure to clearly identify your needs for accessible course materials (audio, e-text, braille, tactile, tutor) to your contact at the disability student office. These materials and/or services take time and special grant funding needs to be organized so be sure you are leading the process and not the other way around.


Next Meeting (Monday February 10 at 7pm)

  • Topic is to be announced.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.


Additional Resources

Telephone Support

Contact our GTT coordinators, Kim Kilpatrick in the East or Albert Ruel in the West to book one on one telephone support.

Kim: 877-304-0968 Ext. 513


Albert: 877-304-0968 Ext. 550



GTT Blog and Monthly Teleconference

CCB sponsors a national GTT monthly teleconference. You may subscribe to the GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences, meeting notes from GTT chapters, and other information. To subscribe, activate the Follow link at the bottom of the blog web page to enter your email.

GTT Email Support List

CCB also 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:


GTT Edmonton Overview

  • GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each 2 hour meeting consists of a feature technology topic in the first hour and a general tech discussion in the second hour.