GTT Edmonton Meeting January 14, 2019
The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held January 14, at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
28 people attended.
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January Topics – AIRA and Library Services
Carrie introduced Ashley, a CNIB staff member and independent blind person, who lives in Saskatchewan. Ashley joined us remotely and presented her experience
With AIRA, a paid subscription service where blind or vision impaired people make an audio and video connection through a smartphone to trained sighted agents who can help them with virtually any task.
- The AIRA user, referred to as an Explorer, uses their smartphone with an AIRA app or an optional set of smart eyeglasses called Horizon. The Horizon kit provides eyeglasses with built-in camera and audio connected to a dedicated Samsung smartphone that enables contact with the AIRA agents. The Samsung phone cannot be used for any other purpose other than to connect to the AIRA agent. The agent can see whatever the explorer points their phone camera at or, in the case of wearing the optional Horizon eyeglasses there is a camera that transmits video of whatever the explorer is looking at.
- The agent becomes a sighted assistant talking to the explorer in real time and helping them navigate or perform other tasks at home or away.
- Ashley emphasized that AIRA does not replace your mobility device. The agents will not assist you outside your home if you are not using a white cane or guide dog.
- The agents will also not talk to you while you cross the street.
- The AIRA subscription fee ranges from $29 USD per month for 30 minutes assistance up to $199 per month for 300 minutes of assistance.
- The optional Horizon kit is $600 USD or can be purchased over time at $25 per month.
- With Horizon your network data is covered in the AIRA fee. If you use your own smartphone then you must pay the cost of data through your own phone plan. It’s estimated that 1 hour of AIRA costs about 1GB of data.
- There are now many sponsors of AIRA such as airports, retail stores, college campuses where your time on AIRA is free. However, Ashley was not aware of any sponsors in Canada yet.
- Complete information about AIRA is available at http://www.aira.io/ or you can call them at 1-800-835-1934.
If you want to know more about Ashley, visit her blog at http://www.blindmovingon.com/
Edmonton Public Library and CELA and NNELS
- We were treated to a presentation on Edmonton Public Library services by Cassidy Munro, the community librarian at the Strathcona library branch.
- Cassidy can be reached at 780.975.8102- or by email at: Cassidy.Munro@epl.ca
- Cassidy described the CELA accessible library service for print disabled Canadians which provides many services including: downloadable recorded DAISY books, downloadable DAISY eBooks, downloadable Bookshare DAISY eBooks, DAISY books on CD mailed to your home, braille books mailed to your home, print-brailled books for kids, over 150 downloadable DAISY e-text magazines, recorded DAISY magazines by download or mail, and over 40 daily newspapers that can be read online.
- Many will recognize these CELA services to be the same as those previously provided by the CNIB Library. CELA took over the CNIB Library
- In 2014 and now serves all print-disabled Canadians not just those who are blind or vision impaired.
- Edmonton Public Library (EPL) also has 100 or so DAISY CD books that can be borrowed for those who want to experience a DAISY book prior to registering for CELA service.
- EPL also has a few Victor Reader Stratus DAISY CD players that can be borrowed to test the service. Customers must purchase their own book player or CNIB clients can approach
- CNIB who may be able to subsidize 75% of the cost of a player.
- In addition to playing CD books the Victor Reader Stratus can also receive direct to player DAISY books over the Internet. The user chooses their book by logging into CELA online and once a book is chosen it is sent directly to the player. For non-computer users, CELA customer service
- or Cassidy can set up a reader profile for you and then the CELA computer will choose your books and send them directly to the player or on CD mailed to your home.
- Cassidy also suggested some may prefer the pocket sized Victor Reader Stream which can accept the direct to player books and perform other online functions Such as getting Bookshare books and listening to podcasts and radio stations.
- CELA books can also be played on your iPhone or Android phone using the free Dolphin EasyReader app.
- Visit the CELA web site for information on all their services or call their customer service at 1-855-655-2273.
- Cassidy can register you for CELA service.
- Cassidy can also register you for NNELS another library service for print-disabled Canadians that offers downloadable DAISY or e-text books. Cassidy highlighted that NNELS is a good source for local content and First Nations content.
- EPL also has non CELA materials you may be interested in such as CD books, Overdrive downloadable recorded books, Music recordings, large print books and more.
- Cassidy was asked about fees. There is no fee for an EPL card, CELA service, Bookshare service or NNELS service.
Next Meeting (Monday February 11, 2019 at 7pm)
- Cassidy from Edmonton Public Library plans to come to the February meeting. She can answer your library questions and register clients for CELA and NNELS that were unable to come in January.
- As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.
Meeting Location and Logistics
- Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
- We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
- Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back.
- Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
- If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.
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 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 more talent and experience we will have 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:
To subscribe, activate the “Follow “link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.
National GTT Email Support 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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