GTT Toronto Meeting Notes January 21, 2016 about social media

Here are the notes from the GTT Toronto meeting which took place on Thursday January 21, 2016. The topic was social media. 
Hello everyone,

Here are the notes from last night’s meeting.

Jason Fayre opened the meeting with a welcome, and said that next month’s meeting would have as its focus low tech kitchen gadgets presented by Donna Jodhan. He introduced Rylan Vroom, assistive technology instructor at Balance for Blind Adults, to talk about social media.


Rylan began by saying he’d be discussing Facebook, twitter and LinkedIn.

There are two main ways to access Facebook on the computer. There’s Facebook mobile, and regular Facebook. Facebook mobile is good because it doesn’t show graphics, is low bandwidth, and more blind friendly. He did a demo starting at the top of the page. Near the top is an edit field to search for a person. Facebook supports hot keys. If you have new messages, you’ll see it indicated near the top. Chat is the cool section where you can chat with anyone you know who’s on line. The pages link allows you to administrate any pages you manage. He talked about how you can choose who you share your posts with, friends, friends of friends, or public. Below this is an edit field where you can enter the text of your post, photos etc.. Below this are birthday notifications of your friends. Below this are all the posts of people you follow. They are displayed as heading level 3, so you can use H to move through them. Lots of people use hashtags, which are best viewed on a Braille display. Posts will show you when a post was posted, and who it was posted to. Using H is generally a good way to navigate through the home page. At the bottom of the main page is a “see more stories” link. Entering on the profile link takes you to your profile. Using H here will display your most recent posts. On the message page, you can use B for button or E for edit field, to move through your messages.


He next went to the regular Facebook page. It allows you to access your privacy settings, which is harder to do on the mobile page. Ian raised the concern that sometimes Facebook system updates can set security settings back to default. Brian M offered the adage that if you post something you should probably be prepared for the entire world to see it. Rylan added, “If you wouldn’t send it to your grandmother, don’t post it.” Brian added that Facebook has gotten better at emailing when they change their security protocols.


Poking is a strange form of Facebook flirting. It allows a temporary exchange of profiles.

You’ll also get a list of updates from Facebook groups you’ve joined. In general, the full site has much more stuff than the mobile site. Debbie asked if uploaded photos get automatically rotated to appear correctly. Rylan answered that he didn’t know, but that he suspects Facebook will correct mistakes in uploading. He warned that if you forget your Facebook password, the process for verifying yourself involves having to identify photos of your friends, so as a blind person, this is a problem. Neila raised the idea of using the ap on a mobile device. Rylan said the down side of this is that the mobile ap often malfunctions, and that entering posts on a touch pad can be tiresome. In general though it is workable, and can do things like geotag your photos. Brian M added that the mobile ap can deal with the password problem by sending you a text for verification. Ian proposed that you can hook up a blue tooth keyboard to your mobile device to make it easier to post. Judith wondered why she gets so many emails telling her about things on Facebook. Rylan replied that it’s because she’s not logging in enough, and that there’s a link in Facebook emails to change your subscription preferences, i.e. what kinds of emails you get from Facebook. Debbie asked for clarification, with a phone, are you using the ap, or the Facebook mobile site. Rylan replied that this is a matter of preference. The ap is different in how you interact with it, and special things may need to happen if you’re using a Braille display.


Twitter is completely different, it’s a micro-blogging site. Twitter is evolving, but at its base it’s a micro-blogging platform. One of its most powerful features is the ability to index specific topics, i.e. hashtags. You can search for a hashtag and find any tweets using this hashtag, i.e. talking about the same thing. Hashtags are ever-changing and time and context related, so you have to watch what you’re doing. Under windows there are a couple of twitter clients, which are ways to use twitter. TWBlue and Chicken Nugget are two that blind people use. You can also access twitter directly from the twitter website. Night Owl is a client for Macs. Twitterific is a good ap for the iPhone. Jason said Tweetings is a useful android ap. The twitter ap for iPhone is sort of accessible, but not entirely.


He did a demo of Chicken Nugget. He did a search for the hashtag A11Y which is a short form for accessibility. This opens a buffer with a vertical list of tweets about A11Y. He showed some of the menu functions, example search, either for a person or a hashtag, updating your profile, how to manage audio that might come attached to a tweet, managing the audio cues that Chicken Nugget uses to convey information…. You can directly message someone on twitter if they’re following you. There are hot keys for most functions, and you can hide the visual window, meaning that you can operate twitter without it showing on your screen. You can directly access links included in tweets. If you choose to follow someone on twitter, this means you see everything they post publicly. There’s some twitter etiquette that they’ll follow you back, unless they’re a celebrity. He demonstrated looking up someone’s profile. This displays information about them such as a bio, and where they are in the world. Debbie asked how to shorten a URL to put into a tweet. Rylan answered that some twitter clients will do it automatically, or you can look up a good URL shortener. The @ at symbol relates to users, the # number symbol relates to hashtags. Debbie made the point that lists can be a really helpful way to categorize the information or topics you follow. She asked if you can add an account to a list without actually following it. A few people answered that you can. Neila asked if there’s any user guides. Rylan answered that each twitter client has their own. Brian commented that the twitter website is completely usable, but twitter clients are much faster, especially if you’re very active on twitter. He also added that twitter isn’t mere fluff. You can get lots of information that’s relevant to you, network, ask for tips or help with something specific, and get really quick answers. It’s an extremely useful tool. Rylan said this is true, and the trick is taking the time and effort to curate it all.


LinkedIn is more of a business networking site. You can find jobs, connect with fellow professionals, and find articles on profession related topics. It’s entirely different from Facebook, because it’s very profession oriented. He did a demo of the site. Never use LinkedIn with internet explorer, because the LinkedIn site has useful tags with key strokes and accessibility information, and older versions of IE can’t handle them. LinkedIn is good at making connections between you and people you might know. The main page looks somewhat like facebook’s, with profile and update options. Neila raised the point that you can join groups in LinkedIn, and endorse the skills of people you know. Debbie asked if the mobile site is easier, and also is there an easier way to follow conversations on LinkedIn. Brian M said he finds the iPhone ap significantly easier when following and interacting with conversations.

Notes for GTT Toronto December Meeting all about screen readers for PC’s. 

Here are the notes for the December meeting.

Jason Fayre, the Adaptive technology specialist at CNIB, opened the meeting. He began by letting the group know that the next meeting, on January 21, will be on social media with Chelsey Mollar.
There was a go round to introduce ourselves.
Jason began his presentation on comparing screen readers by inviting questions at any time. He said that in the second half, there would be time for small group question and answer. Jason gave some background on his experience with access technology. He worked for Arkenstone, who did early OCR, worked as a tech support representative for Freedom Scientific who makes Jaws, and now works for CNIB.
His concentration will be on Jaws, NVDA and Window Eyes, which are the 3 major screen readers. The intention is to give a clear idea of what each one does, why one might choose one over the other, and what’s good and bad about each one.
Job Access with Speech, or Jaws, has been around as long as DOS in the 80’s. In the mid 90’s they released the first versions for Windows with Windows 3.1 the latest version is Jaws 17. It’s a good product. One deterrent can be cost: around $1100. Moving up from one version to another is about $250, up two versions will be more. If you buy a copy, you can buy an SMA, about $300, which gives you the next 2 upgrades for free. You’re allowed to install Jaws on up to 3 different systems. One of its strengths is efficiency on the internet. Another is the variety of voices available. He demonstrated the default Eloquence voice, then pointed out that the newer voices have greatly improved responsiveness. Insert control S is the keystroke to switch voices. He demonstrated Vocalizer Expressive Ava, a female voice, and pointed out its clarity. You have to have the voice installed before the keystroke will work. Go to help, web resources, then vocalizer expressive if you’re on a version before Jaws 17.
Another place where Jaws really shines is with using Braille. If you want or need to use Jaws without speech, you can do so with a Braille display effectively after some initial configuration. The other area where it excels is training. You get about 16 hours of training materials when you buy the product. Web Aim does a survey each year to rank screen readers. When they started in 2010 or so, Jaws was at 75% use among blind people. It’s now at 30% because more options are available.
A group member asked if Windows 10 is compatible with Jaws 16. Jason answered that as of July this year, Jaws released a version of 16 that does work, so get the latest version of 16.
Another question was what makes Jaws better with the Internet. Jason replied that it’s mostly because they’ve been doing it for a long time, and are constantly updating. Also, a new feature called smart navigation improves access to complex websites. 
Another question was about PDF documents. Jason said that Jaws now has a feature that allows you to scan a document and run it through OCR. This is in Jaws 17. With any version of Jaws, go to the help menu where you’ll find an option for What’s New.
Someone asked whether it’s possible to use voice input rather than the keyboard. Jason said that it’s always advisable to know the keyboard, but there are two products called JSay and Dragon Dictate that, used together, will allow you to use speech input. This option is very expensive however, so if you don’t actually need to dictate, you’re better off learning to type if you can. A group member noted that ADP will pay for these products if they’re necessary.
Jason continued with NVDA. He said that NVDA nonvisual desktop access, is what he uses himself. NV access out of Australia produces it. It’s free, and it’s very good. A couple of blind guys started developing it in 2006 to level the playing field. In many countries access technology is prohibitively expensive. Currently NVDA is available in 40 languages and run in 120 countries. It has about 20% of the screen reader market. NVDA is totally free. They do ask for donations, because its development is run on grants and donations. Jason said he donates regularly. Because it’s free, the voice used has to be free. The voices Jaws uses are owned by Nuance Communications Jaws pays them for their voices. NVDA has to use a free voice; the one they use is called ESpeak. Newcomers to synthetic voices can be easily turned off by it. There are options. One is to use voices that come built into Windows. They’re free but not very responsive. There are also companies who have made better voices available for NVDA. About $90 will buy you a range of voices to choose from. These are the same voices you can get on the IPhone. A good thing about NVDA is that it’s snappy and responsive, even more so than Jaws. It’s as good as Jaws or better on the internet, particularly with firefox. Jason said he liked to use NVDA partly because he likes to support an organization run by blind people. One of its drawbacks is working in corporate environments. PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel are difficult or undoable. For most things people do at home, NVDA is perfectly functional. NVDA made a point of making its interface similar to what Jaws uses. ESpeak can go very very fast if you like high speed speech. Microsoft Office support is getting better, but it’s not there yet. Braille support is coming along too. It can support Braille input in grade 1. Output is sketchy, it depends what display you’re using. It’s still not seamless. NVDA on the internet uses very much like Jaws, headings is H, buttons is B, they made an effort so that there would be less of a learning curve. NVDA works quite well with Windows 10, maybe a bit better than Jaws. He advises not to upgrade to Windows 10 if you can help it. You have 30 days to back out if you do upgrade.
A group member asked for a demo of NVDA on a web page. He did a Google search. He demonstrated using H to move between headings, and showed using F7 to get a links list. The links list is called an elements list, because you can get lists of other elements like headings, not just a list of links. The best experience with NVDA on the internet will be with Firefox. It also works with Crone. Chrome is generally not good for accessibility. One drawback of NVDA is the lack of technical support, because it’s a free utility. They’re working on some paid options for support, but there are many online groups for peer support. Their website has resources to link you to paid training, remote or in person. The question was asked whether NVDA has remote access capability. Jason replied that there’s an add on called NVDA remote, which allows someone to remote into your system, or visa versa, for training or troubleshooting purposes. Jaws has a version of this too.
The third option for screen readers is Window Eyes. It is produced by A I Squared, which used to be called GW Micro. It’s been around since about 1998. In the last few years they made an agreement with Microsoft such that, if you own a copy of Microsoft Office, you can get Window Eyes for free. It will make sure you have a licensed copy of Office, then you can download Window Eyes. Their web support has improved significantly lately so that it’s on par with Jaws and NVDA. Many companies are moving to a model of subscribing rather than downright ownership. For example, a $7 per month fee will get you access to Microsoft Office. This can be a more financially accessible option. Window Eyes comes with training materials available online. There were stability issues with Window Eyes in the past, but that’s mostly ironed out now. There’s a new product called Zoomtext fusion, Zoomtext combined and integrated with a functional screen reader. Someone transitioning from large print to speech would find this useful. It’s new in the past few months. The agreement with Microsoft Office doesn’t apply to the fusion product. The cost might be somewhere around $1000 U.S.. Window Eyes is used in corporate environments, but not as commonly as Jaws.
Each of these 3 products has in common that they’re supported by scripting. This means that if you have to use a product that isn’t compatible by default, it’s possible to write code to make the screen reader interact properly. A group member pointed out that Apple endorses the use of Window Eyes over any other screen reader for using ITunes.
You can find some podcasts about using Jaws with various products at
The group broke up into informal conversation.
Yin gave a report of a phone meeting with gtt people from around the country.
Monthly there’s a phone call between the leaders of the various gtt groups. In the last one, Kim gave a history, in 2012 the first meeting in Ottawa took place. Kim got a grant to expand the gtt groups. This is how groups in various provinces and cities started. The latest Ontario gtt group is in Northern Ontario. Communities are pretty spread out, so they host phone meetings.
The needs identified for groups as a whole at the moment are: how to use an Android phone, magnifying devices. How can we accumulate all this information in one place that’s accessible, and how to keep this data base up to date. They mentioned there’s an IPhone 1-800 number, and a Microsoft accessibility line. This information will be made available soon. Apple accessibility and Microsoft answer accessibility desk. The group in Ottawa sometimes breaks up into small groups, or sometimes just operates informally.
Ian asked our group at large how people would like to structure the second half of meetings. Are we happy with informal, or do we want more structure? The trend seemed to be toward less formality. A suggestion was made that during introductions, people might give their name, plus what they are hoping to get out of the meeting as a way to identify themselves to the group. Also, there might be meetings without pre-defined topics to allow people to get specific things addressed. The third idea was for a phone meeting.
Tom Decker was the minute taker for the phone meeting of group leaders from across the country, so information about that phone meeting will show up on Facebook. Kim is a faithful blog writer. Contact her to subscribe, we will post her email address. is how our information gets distributed. Subscribing there will get you access to all information. There’s a monthly open conference call for any participants.

GTT Toronto Meeting notes all about GPs Solutions.

GTT Toronto 

Meeting #3, November 19, 2015. 

GPS solutions: Brian Moore  


Brian began by noting that conventional GPS tools omit critical information for those with vision loss – names of intersections, passing points of interest, etc. – so he would not focus on these devices/systems, except insofar as they interface with systems specifically designed for the blind.  As such, there are really only a couple of options remaining in the marketplace.

Trekker Breeze is a dedicated *single function), hand-held device designed for use by the vision impaired.  It has no screen (the user interface is audio).  It has raised buttons.  It has limited route planning capability, allows you to mark points of interest, and will indicate streets as you come to them.


The other major class of GPS systems is smart-phone based, both for i-phone and android.  In Brian’s opinion, the accessibility features on android phones are not quite as good as those for i-phone.  He will focus on, and demonstrate an IOS-based app called ‘Blind Square’, designed for blind and partially sighted users.

Some general notes on pricing:  I-phones, tablets, etc are relatively expensive but are multi-purpose tools combining many different functions.  Once past the initial hurdle of buying the hardware, many of the applications are free or very inexpensive.  Blind Square currently retails online for about CAD$39. 

The Breeze stand-alone GPS retails for about $800.

Q: are there android options?

A: Brian uses a free public transport app, available for both android and IOS, called ‘Transit’ to find out when the next bus or streetcar is coming to a stop location.  Google maps is also available for android, and is particularly good for planning a route or finding a location you haven’t been to before.  There may soon be an android version of Blind Square but, on a recent check of the Blind Square website, there was no indication of this. 


Aside from the Breeze, there are a couple of other stand-alone GPS units, some with built-in DAISy players and other functions but, in Brian’s view, many of these have problems with satellite signal acquisition, or more complicated interfaces, etc.


Demonstrating GPS devices from inside a building is challenging.  But there are many u-tube videos available on using GPS devices.  Blind Square has a number of excellent demonstration videos in real-world situations on its website at 


Comment from participant:  There is an upgrade available now for the Trekker Breeze which costs about $200 but which significantly improves the functionality of the unit.

Q: Is there a difference in the level of accuracy between the Breeze and a phone-based system?

A: Although satellites are more accurate, the practical limit of all GPS systems is to within 10 metres.  This means you might use your GPS device to check your location and be told the address across the street.   

Q: Can I use voice commands to pick a destination and get walking directions?

A: Yes, using Apple Maps, a function that is built in to I-phones.  But Apple Maps presumes you can see where you are.  You can check your location from time to time, but Apple Maps will not automatically tell you when you’re crossing an intersection or passing a point of interest, as Blind Square will.


Brian demonstrated the Blind Square app (selecting a pre-programmed address because the phone was not picking up satellite signal indoors).  Locations can be logged as “Favorites”, to make them easy to find again.  “Start Tracking” gives compass directions, in clock face or degrees, as you start moving toward your destination.  Because Brian has an Uber (taxi alternative) app on his phone, Blind Square can tell how quickly a car could pick him up and roughly what the cost of the fair would be.  “Share This Place” allows you to send the destination as a link on Google Maps, to someone else via email.  

“Plan a Route”, when activated, will ask what app you’d like to use, listing as options any route-planning app installed on the phone.  One option is Navigon North America.  This app costs about $80 but, unlike most apps, allows you to download maps and routes and work offline.  This means that if you can’t get a data signal, or want to avoid expensive roaming charges, you can still find your destination.

From within Blind Square, Brian selects Google Maps to plan his route and can get step-by-step instructions on how to get there, including cues about current location, nearby intersections, points of interest, etc.


If planning a route via transit, Brian uses Google Maps on its own without Blind Square, as Google Maps is very accessible using the most current version of Voice Over.   Past versions of Voice Over have not worked as well.  Double tap the Google Maps icon, select travel mode (driving, transit, walking or bicycling) and then input the destination.  You can set parameters on your trip, allowing you to travel at a different time of day, or on a date in the future, etc.  But for travel directions right now, you can skip the parameters and just press “Start navigation”, and begin your trip.  If you swipe to the right and double tap, it will give you spoken step-by-step instructions.  

Although you can plan a route using Blind Square, Blind Square  does not do the actual route planning.  It feeds your destination and current location to another route-planning app, like Google maps or Apple maps, which does the route planning.  As well, Blind Square does not give ‘turn-by-turn’ directions.

  Q: If I don’t have a street address, can I use an intersection as my destination?

A: Yes.  Intersections, landmarks, and other kinds of locations can be used as destinations.  Even subway stations should be available as destinations.  As well, Google Maps will allow you to save histories of places you have been and will “make suggestions” about similar places.  Google Maps will also scan content in your g-mail inbox and suggest directions on how to get to a location listed there. 


Toronto transit information can come from a number of different sources.  The

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has a text service tied to the four- or five-digit number codes which identify  every bus stop and subway platform.  If you text the number code to “TEXT TTC” (416-839-8882 the service will text you back with the times the next 3 buses or trains will arrive at that stop.

As these are just text messages, you don’t need to use any data. You can save this number in your contacts instead of having to decode the name each time you want the number.


Other public transit apps include “Pocket Rocket”, “Rocket man”, and “Next Bus”.  Each of these have slightly different features and interfaces, so it’s a matter of personal preference which one to use.

GTT Toronto notes all about CNIB/Cela library October 15, 2015. 

This is a great set of notes from the GTT Toronto group.Anyone who is using CNIB library/CELA library service can get something out of these. 



October 15, 2015.


Jason Fayre opened the meeting. He introduced the evening’s guest speaker, Lindsay Tylor, Manager of member services for CELA, Centre for Equitable Library Access. She proposed discussing what CELA is, and how it interacts with the CNIB library, then library services in general. She did a check-in with the group: most people use the CNIB library, a handful use things like Bookshare, commercial services and the public library. The Centre for Equitable Library Access is a non-profit created in April 2014 by Canadian public libraries so that they can offer services for people with print disabilities. Its origin is in the idea that it isn’t just for some to require the use of charitable dollars to access library services. The main point is that public libraries are increasingly accessible. This means that all libraries in Ontario should be able to offer an equal level of access to people with print disabilities. This is especially impactful for people in small communities. CELA also means that anyone with a print disability can access the large collection owned by CNIB, not just people with vision loss. The functional difference with CELA for the user is merely that they will be accessing their material through the public library system. Anyone coming to the CNIB as a new client will interact directly with the public library, and existing clients will be enrolled by CNIB staff.


The first goal of CELA is to recognize that one size doesn’t fit all users; one format won’t work for everyone, and people have a range of technical skills. The goal is for pleasure reading and life-long learning, not really academic material. In the publishing world at large, very little is available in alternative format, and there’s a recognized goal of not duplicating material that is already accessible. There are three formats, audio, etext and Braille. For each one there are different delivery methods. Audio is by far the most popular. All of the audio through CELA is in daisy format. This means the books highly structured, and can be accessed by page, heading, and other fine organizational ways. It’s used worldwide. There are two ways of downloading daisy books. The first is daisy zip, which is a bunch of mp3 files with some data files that dictate the organization of the audio. These come in a zipped folder that can be downloaded, then transferred to a portable device. The process of unzipping a file is built into windows. Internet access is required. For those who don’t have internet, daisy books are made available on CD. Most users currently use CDs. You can play the files on the computer itself if you prefer. The second method, the newest, and most convenient, is the direct to player method. There are specialized players Victor Reader Stream and Plextalk are the two main portable daisy players. They come internet enabled, and you can configure them to your internet connection. The player will download books directly from the library site to your player without having to use CDs or zip files. It’s easy.


When you get a player, you need to sign up through the public library to access the service, or you call the CNIB or CELA help line and they will walk you through configuring your player with your library account. A technician can send you an SD card which will configure the device for you, or they can walk you through it over the phone. A long standing CNIB library user can call 1-800-268-8818. A CELA user can call 1-855-655-2273. Your local library should have this CELA number. The website is Players sold in the last 2 years will connect to the internet; an older player may not.


Since the spring, aps for Apple and Android devices will do the same thing as downloading with a dedicated daisy player. This can be a cheaper option. Lindsay did a demonstration of the Apple ap. You can peruse the website yourself, or instruct the service to choose books from particular genres and download them. The ap is called Direct to Player, and is available in the Apple App store for Apple devices, and in the Google Play Store for Android. It’s easy to delete books if you’re sent books from your chosen genre that you decide you don’t want. There’s a generous lone period, but eventually the books may disappear from your device because of licensing agreements. You can simultaneously choose particular books, and receive books from your chosen genre. Lindsay demonstrated playing a title off of her phone. There are features for bookmarks, sleep timer etc.. The ap features work very much like those on a dedicated player. Lindsay was asked whether there’s a plan to put a search feature directly into the ap. Lindsay replied that this is one of the most common requests, and that she thinks it’s coming. The ap is free. You have the option to stream or download. At this stage the ap is strictly for audio, not Braille for a Braille display. The first time you open the ap you must enter your library number. The ap is used by both the CELA and CNIB systems.


Newspapers are one of the most popular services offered. It’s available online, and it’s simple. Sign into CNIB or CELA, go to the link called News Stand, and over 50 national and international newspapers are listed. Enter on the link, and plain text articles are offered. It’s electronic text. Newspaper specific sites can be difficult to navigate, but this service is much easier, and updated daily.


Bookshare is an American service, the world’s largest online library of its kind. 260,000 titles. They work closely with publishers, and have titles that aren’t always easy to find. They’re made available at the same time as the print editions. The books are all etext or synthetic speech, or electronic Braille. Not all titles are available to Canadians because of licensing agreements. Joining on your own is $75 the first year and $50 each subsequent year, but CNIB and CELA members have free access. At, you must go through a membership process. Scanning your CNIB id card and sending it will qualify as proof of disability. If you don’t have a card you need a signature by a professional. They have their own built in web reader, and Apple ap called read to go which you pay for. There’s an Android ap that’s free. The ap has options around font size for low vision readers. Voice Dream Reader was proposed as a better and cheaper ap option. The voices offered through Voice Dream are outstanding. Voice Dream also works with CNIB and CELA titles. Voice Dream is $13.20. Direct to Player and Read to go are similar. All titles appear on your bookshelf. In Read to Go, you can search Bookshare from within the ap. Lindsay demonstrated the Read to Go ap with its own synthetic voices. It allows you to control the speed of the voice or the size of the font.


The topic of DVS movies was raised. Some DVDs are produced with DVS, but many aren’t. CELA does buy DVDs they can find that have it. The CELA DVD collection is popular and well used.


It was proposed that links to books in the Digital Times e-newsletter should be made into direct download links. Lindsay agreed this would be very useful, but might be technically difficult to arrange.

It was also suggested that Braille downloads should be in zip files, not downloadable one volume at a time. Lindsay said she would bring this suggestion to others in her department.

In answer to a question on the topic, Lindsay explained that the library’s content comes from local production, international agreements with libraries around the world, and a growing relationship with commercial audio book producers, Particularly Recorded Books. She explained that patrons can request a book either through an online form on the CNIB library website, or by contacting the help line. She said that some priority is given to blind authors who’ve written on the topic of vision loss, but that there isn’t currently a focus on producing works by blind authors in other genres.


In closing, Ian White encouraged anyone who isn’t already on the mailing list, to email in order to begin receiving communications from the GTT list. There are movements towards creating a Facebook page, and a voicemail line to disseminate information. He announced that the next meeting will be on November 19th, and that Brian Moore will be presenting on the topic of GPS solutions. 

Reminder: Upcoming first ever GTT meeting in Toronto! 

This is just a reminder that was posted in August.

I am very excited about GTT starting in Toronto.

Just a reminder too that if anyone is interested in starting a GTT and wants any assistance, contact Kim at



See below for an exciting notice about GTT starting up in Toronto. I was honoured to be part of that first conference call to plan logistics. There was so much energy and collaboration on that call. It is wonderful that so many groups and organizations are collaborating to make this happen. This was the case when we started up here in Ottawa. CCB, CNIB, AEBC, and other groups are all joining together to work on this. Thank you to you all and I can’t wait to hear more about your adventures. Hey Toronto, we’re Getting Together with Technology!A couple of years ago, CCB (Canadian Counsel of the Blind) partnered with Kim Kilpatrick and a program called Get Together with Technology (GTT), to encourage those who use adaptive technology – and those who would like to know more – to get together and share their knowledge. The result is that GTT groups have sprung up in CCB Chapters across the country, meeting regularly to talk and learn about the technological tools that can enable independence and help build confidence. We are pleased to announce that we are forming a GTT group here in Toronto!

Topics can range from relatively low-tech devices such as colour identifiers and Talking Book players, to tips on how to get the most out of your computer or the latest smart phone, and anything in between! GTT groups are self-directed, discussing topics brought to the group by group members. 

And don’t worry if you are not ‘tech savvy’. The idea of a GTT group is that those with some knowledge will share that knowledge with the rest of the group.  

There are 3 things you can do to get connected to this incredibly powerful resource:

1. Come to our first meeting! Our first meeting will be held on Thursday, September 17th from 6-8 PM at the CNIB national office at 1929 Bayview Avenue. The topic for the first meeting will consist of participant introductions, and what you hope to get out of participation in a GTT Group.  The rest of the meeting will consist of a brainstorming session to generate specific topics for future meetings, and to rank these, setting a schedule of topics for the next few meetings. Meetings will be held on the third Thursday of each month between September and June. For more information, you can send an email to

2. You can subscribe to the GTT blog, a wealth of information about various technologies, with detailed descriptions on how to make the most of them. To get information about upcoming GTT meetings and conference calls as well as meeting notes and resources, please subscribe to the GTT blog. To register, visit the web page below. Look near the bottom of the page for a heading called, “Follow “GTT Program blog and resources” and leave your email address in the edit field below that heading. You will receive an email message asking you to confirm that you wish to be subscribed, and clicking on the “confirmation” link in that message will complete the process. Or you can follow GTT on Twitter @gttprogram.

3. The GTT group run by the National Get Together with Technology coordinator, Kim Kilpatrick, offers a national conference call-in once a month. If you’d like to participate in this conference call, please contact Kim by email at or by calling her through CCB National Office’s toll free line at 1-877-304-0968 for full details on how to call in to the conference. So get connected! Get together with Technology! And make the most of the powerful tools that can open up your world.