GTT Victoria Meeting Agenda, Asking for Visual Help and our Christmas List, December 5, 2018

Get Together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

 

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

in Partnership with

The Greater Victoria Public Library

 

Theme: Asking for Visual Help and our Christmas List

 

Date: December 5, 2018

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Where: Community Room, GVPL, Main Branch 735 Broughton St

 

First Hour:

Tom Dekker will lead a conversation around the room regarding access to information. The many strategies, tips and techniques we employ that give us access to visual information around us. We might want to talk about what we do in our own lives to get access to the visual information. Identifying one can from another, finding the right thing in the pantry, or working your digital dryer. Tom Dekker also suggested that he could explain how podcasts work on tablets, smart phones, talking book players and computers during this meeting.

 

Second Hour:

During the second hour let’s take what we’ve learned in the first hour and talk about our Technology Christmas List.  What was on sale during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and what will the deals look like on Boxing Day?

 

For More Information:

Contact Albert Ruel at 250-240-2343, or email us at GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

 

CCB Backgrounder:

 

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 Email: info@ccbnational.net URL: http://www.ccbnational.net

GTT Victoria Summary Notes, BrailleMe, Be My Eyes and Aira, October 3, 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 October 3, 2018

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:00 pm by Tom Dekker.

 

Attendance, there were 15 individuals in Attendance.

 

Tom Decker welcomed everyone to the meeting and opened the session with a presentation and demonstration of a new low-cost Braille display. The item is called BrailleMe and is produced by Innovision Tech

www.innovisiontech.co/brailleme/

Tom is quite impressed with the item, especially in relation to what it can do based on the very attractive price point. The unit sells for around $575 (USD). the item can produce .BRF and .TXT files, and can read from an SD Card, but holds no internal memory. Tom went around the room with the item and let everyone have a look/test,

 

Other low-end Braille products were discussed including the Orbit, however their seams to be some serious issues with that product and people not having much luck with it, even if they are able to get their hands on one.

 

During the second half, Albert Ruel presented a demo of both the Be My Eyes App

www.bemyeyes.com

and the Aira service

www.aira.io

 

Albert is a subscriber to the Aira service and wanted people to see the differences while highlighting the unique services offered by both apps.

 

First, he demonstrated BeMyEyes. it uses the camera on your phone. You connect via the app, cost is free, and you are connected to a volunteer who will assist you with whatever vision challenge you present. Today Albert spoke to a volunteer (randomly selected by the app) in Calgary. Albert asked her to read several cards he held in front of the camera, she did so with great ease and accuracy.

 

Then albert did the same test utilizing the Aira service. Although a cell phone camera can be used, Albert used the provided Austria glasses with an attached camera that one gets when subscribing to the service. Lining up the cards was a bit more of a challenge using the glasses due to a bit of a field of vision limitation. Albert also asked the Aira Agent to provide a brief description of the clothing being worn by some of the people sitting across the room, as well as to have some of the room described.  Interestingly enough, there is a fire extinguisher hanging on the wall across from where Albert was sitting, a fact not previously known by the blind people who attend GTT meetings monthly.  Aira is a “user pay” service and there are four plans available with varying prices based on the number of minutes you wish to purchase. They also have some referral promotions if people sign up from a referral from an existing user, who is referred to as an Explorer.

 

In closing a brief discussion was held about both the province-wide October 20, 2018 civic election, and the provincial referendum on Proportional Representation that will conclude on November 19, 2018. Albert said that CNIB will be contacting clients with particulars about the braille information and templates that can be requested for the latter, seeing as it is a mail in ballot. For accessibility features available for the Civic Election, please check with your City or region to ask about their what they’ve put in place for blind and partially sighted voters.

 

Albert also provided some sense of the poor intercity bus service available on Vancouver Island, particularly for communities North of Nanaimo.  If one is travelling beyond Nanaimo the last intercity bus leaving Victoria is at 2:55 PM.  Also, the first bus heading for Victoria leaves Parksville at 9:15 AM and doesn’t arrive in Victoria until after 1:00 PM if riding with Tofino Bus, and the IslandLink Express Bus leaves Parksville at 9:40 AM and arrives in Victoria at about 12:30 PM.  Sadly, if intercity bus riders have occasion to visit Victoria from Up Island communities their work/social day will last no more than 2- and one-half hours in total.

 

Finally, a topic for an upcoming meeting was discussed, that being “how do we feel about asking for visual help and how might technology play a role in how we answer that in a changing world.  How will we maintain our independence when accessing information in our home activities, work tasks and during our recreational pursuits?

 

The next meeting will be held on November 7, 2018, and it will have us receiving a presentation from Stephen Ricci from Frontier Computing in Toronto.  They are one of the largest assistive technology resellers in Canada, and while Stephen is in Victoria attending the Foundation Fighting Blindness Vision Quest the previous day he is pleased to stay one additional day to attend the GTT Victoria meeting.

 

Meeting was adjourned at 3pm

Next meeting, Wednesday November 7th, Same bat time, same bat channel. Happy Halloween everyone!

 

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:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

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:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

 

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:

CCB-Tech-BuySellTrade@Groups.io

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:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ibu0BY-kAX4

 

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:

https://getaccessibleapps.com/

 

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 MikeCarpenter@Shaw.ca.

 

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:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

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:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

GTT Victoria Summary Notes, O6 Remote Switch and WayAround Tags, April 4, 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, April 4, 2018

GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

 

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

 

Attendance, There were 17 individuals in Attendance.

 

Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting including 3 “first timers”. Welcome Ken, Bevan and Suzanne to your first CCB GTT Victoria meeting.  Albert reviewed the agenda, that being 2 presentations during the first half, and open discussion following a break during the second half.

 

Albert welcomed Tom Decker, our presenter, who will demo and explain two relatively new products to the group, the O6 Remote Switch and the WayAround Tagging system.

 

The O6 Switch website is here:

And for more specific information about the accessibility features of the product go here:

 

This is a small, round device, approx 2 inches in diameter, that is battery powered (USB chargeable) that was designed primarily for mainstream hands free use of any iOS device. It would be very useful for folks that struggle with the on screen finger gestures. The entire screen can be navigated via a small wheel that clicks when turned, moving from app to app on the screen. By pressing the center button, it will open the desired application or app and again permit access via some additional movement to the device.

 

The product was developed in India. Approximate price is $100, (USD). It has an advanced mode that kicks in automatically when you are using the device with Voice Over, however it is also usable by sighted iOS users without VoiceOver.

 

For more information you can watch Tom Dekker do a demo here:

Or listen to David Woodbridge’s demo of the same device here:

 

The second product is called WayAround Tagging System:

 

It is a system, somewhat similar to the Pen Friend, however using NFC rather then RFID tags. Tom demoed the product by putting the info on a tag and highlighting the fact that the amount of info you can put on is endless. There are product categories and if what you want is not there, you can add it. For the demo, for example Tom tagged his coat, including color, washing instructions, etc.

 

The tags come in all sorts of shapes and sizes including magnets, pins etc. The tags are a bit pricey at $1 each, but can be reloaded. The system is waterproof and unlike the Pen Friend, your tag info is stored in the cloud, and will not disappear if the base unit goes down.

 

The unit will work with iPhone 7 and better, but you can buy a scanner for older phones. The scanner is approx $100 (USD) and a starter pack of labels is $60 (USD)

 

For a great video demo of the product watch Tom Dekker here:

 

A special thanks to Tom Decker for his top notch demonstrations. Tom, the Ihabilitation man, can be heard weekly on AMI Audio’s Kelly and Company.

 

After the break the group went to open discussion. The first topic was Fusion. A few members of the group were struggling a bit and there seams to be some confusion on compatibility with windows 10. Albert said he would deal with the issues on a one on one basis and forward a listing of the more common keystroke shortcuts to those who are interested.

 

Aira, a relatively new service was discussed at length. Detailed information on this product can be found by reading the Summary Notes for the March 14, 2018 CCB-GTT National Conference Call meeting.

 

Also, an excellent review of the product by Jonathan Mosen is available here.  Albert highly recommended it saying it was extremely detailed.

 

Where to buy low tech items like watches was discussed, options include several places on the net, CNIB and the Braille Superstore.

 

Topics for next meeting, Affordable Adaptive Technology was suggested.

 

Next meeting, Wednesday May 2, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, same location.

 

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:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

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:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

 

GTT Victoria Summary Notes, Online Shopping, March 7, 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, March 7, 2018

GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:20 pm by chair Albert Ruel, There was a bit of confusion in regards to the meeting date and use of the room, thus the slight delay in getting started.

 

Attendance, There were 18 individuals in Attendance.

 

Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting,

 

Albert started the meeting with an explanation about the CCB GTTSupport email list and explained the difference between it and the Blog. The list is enjoying tremendous success and he invited everyone to come check it out. Albert did warn perspective participants that due to the lists popularity, the volume of emails one receives from the list could be an issue for some people, but remember the delete button is only a finger reach and click away.

*Note: Links for both the GTTProgram Blog and GTTSupport email list are found at the bottom of these notes.

 

From there the discussion moved to today’s topic matter, online shopping, banking etc.

 

Some questions about Talking ATMs were addressed and one of the concerns was the need for the end user to provide there own ear buds or listening device. It seams that all ATMs seam to be standardised in regards to function control commands and that the 2 command blanks the screen, offering an extra layer of security for a VI user, using voice.

 

From there online banking and its security were discussed. Mike Carpenter, a former bank employee reconfirmed that a bank like RBC has the maximum amount of security built into there online banking platform. Companies like Amazon would have the same.

 

Online grocery ordering was discussed and the Save on foods service seamed to be the most accessible thus far. Thrifty’s has come a long ways and was also used by a few in attendance. For some individuals the Apps associated with both grocery stores seem to be a little more user friendly than going to the company’s website, although the websites appear to be very accessible.

 

Save-On-Foods Online Grocery Shopping Link:

Save-On Foods iOS App:

Save-On Foods Android App:

 

Thrifty Foods Online Grocery Shopping Link:

Thrifty Foods iOS App:

Thrifty Foods Android App:

 

The importance of dealing with reputable service providers was talked about and also using a service like PayPal for the financial transaction of the purchase was discussed. Using PayPal means only one company has your credit card info, and it too is a large multinational company with a high level of security.

 

Phishing scams were talked about at length and reputable places like banks will never ask you to click on a link to update and account. When in doubt, don’t click. And call the provider to see if they are needing or wanting some sort of information from you. Voice mail messages are also to be viewed as potentially suspicious.  When you receive an email message or voice mail suggesting there’s something wrong with your Visa account for example, instead of accessing the link or toll free number provided in the message, go back to the toll free number on the back of your credit card, or the direct link to their official site to inquire with your service provider in question.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 2:45pm

 

Next meeting, Wednesday April 4 @ 1:00pm.

 

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:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

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:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

CCB-GTT News: Usability Tester Showcase: Bruce Turner’s Story — Knowbility

Fellow GTT Members and Participants.  Here’s a story about one of our own, Bruce Turner of the GTT Victoria Chapter.  Today was his 69th birthday, so we congratulated him during the GTT Victoria meeting.  The full story is below the link to the original page.

 

https://knowbility.org/blog/2018/usability-tester-showcase-bruce-turners-story/

 

Bruce Turner’s Story — Knowbility

knowbility.org

 

Bruce Turner’s Story — Knowbility

by Marine Menier

 

For several years now, Knowbility has recruited people with disabilities to participate in usability studies. During that time, we’ve added hundreds of

people from across the United States and beyond to our

AccessWorks

user testing panel, which partners testers with disabilities with companies interested in improving the accessibility and usability of their products.

So, when a popular Canadian media company reached out to our AccessWorks team with a request for Canadian testers with different disabilities, we were

prepared. Bruce Turner was one of these testers, and we’re proud to share his experience.

 

Born with retinitis pigmentosa and profoundly deaf, Bruce uses a variety of assistive technologies to get things done. He uses ZoomText, a screen magnification

program to change the color scheme on his computer. Bruce prefers his text to be white on a black background.

 

To be more productive on the phone, Bruce uses a relay service. An operator types what is heard on the line, Bruce reads it, and then he responds. It was

with this suite of technology and the marvels of off-the-shelf video conferencing software that Bruce successfully completed the usability study. The retired

civil servant credits today’s tech in playing a role in promoting social and economic integration.

 

“If I didn’t have this technology in front of me I don’t think I would be doing as well as I am,” Bruce said. “This technology I wish the heck I had when

I was younger. I like the fact that I can do email, I can go online, I can do my banking, I can talk to people, I can communicate.”

 

Bruce says he enjoys learning how to accomplish tasks online, for example, the steps that are needed to arrive at a website’s homepage.

 

“It’s like playing a brand-new game for the first time, not knowing what to do, but simply getting there and getting my feet wet and see what I can do,”

Bruce said.

 

Bruce first heard about AccessWorks via a post on the website of

Get Together with Technology (GTT),

a program run by the Canadian Council of the Blind. Though at first leery about the program’s claims—that people with disabilities could earn extra money

working as usability testers—GTT’s Albert Ruel reassured him that Knowbility could be trusted.

 

“Bruce did a great job! He provided us with a different perspective. He actually helped us to consider other ways of communicating….and we actually did

it….we were so thrilled. We learned so much and as a result, we feel very confident going into it!” Marine Menier, AccessWorks Project Manager, said.

 

Bruce was born and raised in Kamloops, British Columbia. He graduated from the University of Victoria in 1973 and worked for the Canadian federal government

for 35 years. As a child, he attended school alongside people of many different ethnicities and varying abilities. He feels that this has influenced his

attitudes towards inclusiveness.

 

“The way I look at the word inclusiveness is getting along with people who have all kinds of disability,” he said. “People who are blind, people who are

low vision, people who are deaf, we all share a little bit of everything.”

 

He considers Knowbility’s usability tester program a force for good, both for companies that need knowledge about the accessibility of their products and

for people with disabilities who want to help make websites more accessible.

 

“The AccessWorks program also increases the self-esteem of those who participate, and that is an important benefit,” he added.

 

Now retired, Bruce lives with his wife in Victoria, British Columbia. In addition to reading online articles from ZDNet and GTT to learn about the latest

tech, he enjoys photography, gardening, and taking walks along the Gorge Waterway, a scenic inlet near his home.

 

GTT Victoria Summary Notes, BC Government Accessibility and General Discussion, September 6, 2017

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

 

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

 

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm by chair Albert Ruel

 

Attendance: 13 people with 4 visiters from Vancouver.  Heidi, Albert, Tom, Richard from Vancouver, John, Scott from the Library, Karen from the library, Lynn from Vancouver, Pegg from Vancouver, John from Vancouver, Douglas, Bruce and Kira who is the Captionist.  Regrets from Corry.

 

Albert- Welcome back folks after a smoky summer.

 

Heidi Leckenby is from the provincial government and she works in the webaccessibility area. She was visiting to learn more about the methods and strategies we use to access information online, and she hopes to be able to return to future meetings.  She indicated that she was there to hear stories, learn from the group and just have open conversations and share.

 

Scott indicated that the GVPL Community Room will be available to us the second Wednesday of October and November.

 

Daphne Wood, who works at the library introduced 2 people who are working on both a publication and a podcast for the victoria foundation. It’s a community foundation that funds many initiatives. The library has been a beneficiary of grants, like the olive outreach vehicle that takes the library to various events in the Victoria area. We were joined by 2 people, one from the victoria foundation doing a story in their next issue of Vital Signs about belonging. They want to do a story on how the library supports inclusion and togetherness in our communities. A photographer was also in attendance, and with the group’s permission took some photos. Someone else will do a podcast to talk about the initiatives the library works on, and GTT may be featured therein.

 

Assistive Tech talked about:

  • No one has seen the Orbit Braille Display yet, however you can buy it early.
  • The Victor Reader Trek is a combination device which includes a talking GPS and a Daisy talking book player in one device. The Victor Reader Stream will still be available as a stand-alone device.
  • The Blaze EZ and ET that includes OCR, as wwell as talking books, podcasts, Direct to Player downloads and so much more was also discussed. The ET version includes a refreshable Braille display.
  • The free iOS Seeing AI app by Microsoft is a major advancement because it offers OCR, bar code reading, facial recognition and it can give descriptions of scenes around you. The AI part of the name means artificial intelligence. Some said it will read street signs, menus in the windows at starbucks and it’ll allow the user to read posters in a window.  The app works best on iPhone 6 and newer, and they are working on an Android version.
  • Aira was discussed as well. For about $89 a month you can have a trained human being narrate the world in front of you through your earbuds.
  • BeMyEyes is still free and available, however they are volunteers with no specific blindness training.
  • The google Home Speaker was finally released in Canada, and it allows the user to make phone calls all over north America. It can do conversions, give you the weather, play trivia and flip a coin.

 

Main presentation by Heidi Leckenby: Heidi.Leckenby@gov.bc.ca>

Heidi gave us some background on where she works.  She’s with the provincial government and works in the areas of communications and public engagement. The area she’s in is in the online services area. The online services is to do with the government.bc. website. She was given the portfolio of being the web accessibility lead. She thought it was for our area but they realised across government, they don’t have people with the skill set or understanding on how to make services accessible. So she’s it.

 

She’s had the portfolio for 2 years and has had to learn along the way. The information is broad and deep but also she’s trying to have access to real conversations with people. So right now she’s working on a project with where they’re at in the government and she’s also looking at creating relationships in our communities with different people in different areas to understand their needs. Also the more she speaks to people, the more she realises that there’s such a broad spectrum of abilities. Some who are techsavy and ones who don’t want to touch it at all. So she’s delighted by the experience of learning alongside us and to hear everyone’s stories. She wants to translate it back to the work they do.

 

Heidi indicated they are looking at it from all types of barriers, the hard of hearing as well as the cognitive side. They are looking at the larger demographic areas but they’re trying to make it accessible for everyone. They want universal design,

 

Heidi has been on the road across BC to talk to citizens about how to generally access Government services online. And the large majority of people don’t use computers. Some are very techsavy that are comfortable, but there’s also a need for person to person interaction.

 

Heidi said, accessibility 2024 is in motion, and it’s to do with accessibility across the board, IE. online, physical, internet access in remote areas.

 

This is where public libraries have a role to play. They can be as accessible as they can but sometimes the problem is between the chair and the keyboard. Its training. If you don’t know how to do it, you still don’t get access. There needs to be what the provincial government needs to know. It’s great to have these workshops.

 

Scott indicated that The library is in a unique position, They have a new website, and he’s talked to the communications officer and she wants a session with testers to look at the website and make comments on the lack of accessibility.  The communication director would be there to make notes how to make it better.

 

Following the break Heidi indicated that it has been fruitful to share what she’s going through and to hear from the group regarding their online experiences.

 

More assistive tech talked about:

  • Albert demonstrated a set of magnets purchased at a local farmer’s market in parksville. It was designed by a young fellow. It’s a set of 3 magnets designed for Iphone earbuds that has the earbuds snap together so we don’t have to untangle them. They come with a third one to put on the plug in so they all get put together and its never tangled.  Albert purchased some so if anyone wants any, I can send you the website information. I will put it in the notes for this meeting. You can order them online, or Albert has a few that will be available during the next meeting.

http://www.nearbuds.com/

  • Albert also discussed the Fopydo iPhone scanning stand that allows the user to set up the iPhone to take photos of text for OCR. Shipped to Albert’s home they are $22 each. If anyone wants one, Albert has 3 of the 5 originally ordered. Albert will bring them to the next meeting if anyone is interested in purchasing one.

http://fopydo.com/

  • The Dolphin Easy Reader app has been updated, so those who are accessing the CELA Direct to Player service might want to look at this iPhone app.
  • The GTTSupport email discussion list was talked about briefly. If anyone hasn’t yet checked it out, you can subscribe by sending a blank message with Subscribe in the Subject Line to the below address:

GTTSupport+Subscribe@Groups.io

The GTTSupport list is for anyone, blind and visually impaired to talk to each other about assistive technology.  it’s an email list where we can share information and ask questions.

 

Next Meeting: October 11, 2017

The next GTT Victoria meeting will have a presentation from Steve Barclay, formerly from Aroga Technologies, now operating Canadian Assistive Technologies out of the Vancouver area.  He will demo some new and emerging blindness and low vision assistive tech.

 

Albert reminded the group that the October and November meetings will be on the second Wednesday, and that the December meeting will be back to the first Wednesday.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

Albert A. Ruel

 

 

Guest Post: Blind News Victoria Fall 2017, a Publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

Blind News Victoria

 

A publication of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

 

 

Fall 2017

 

After two months of sun and relaxation, its back to school for the Pacific Training Centre students.  Classes will commence the week of Monday September 11, with classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  .  All returning students will be contacted prior to their first class.  We are looking forward to an exciting year and will be expanding our program to serve students from outside the Victoria area.  We also hope to take on one more staff person to help us meet the growing demand for blindness skills training.

 

Please consider becoming a member of the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind Society.  Membership is only $5 per year.  The greater the membership, the more successful the Society will be in acquiring grants from the government which are essential to us carrying on the vital work of the PTCB.

 

To join call Elizabeth at 250-580-4910 or email

info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

Mark Your Calendar

 

PTCB Annual General Meeting

Tuesday September 19 at 4:00

Disability Resource Centre Board Room – 817a Fort St.

The meeting is open to all PTCB current and perspective members and there will be a phone in option for those who cannot attend in person.  The meeting will be followed by pizza and refreshments.  Please RSVP if you plan to attend in person or need the conference call details.

 

RSVP 250-580-4910 or

info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

***

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

 

Date: September 6, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM

Where: Community Room, GVPL, Main Branch 735 Broughton St

 

First Hour: Presentation from Heidi Likenby, Heidi works with the Public Service Agency in BC Government Digital Experience.  She is currently working on a project to bring disability awareness and accessibility to the IT forefront throughout government.  She is an accessibility advocate and is very interested in finding out more about GTT and also having the chance to meet some of the members, see first hand how they use assistive technology and hear their points of view on web design and accessibility.

 

2nd Hour: Steve Barclay, Canadian Assistive Technologies will provide a demonstration of what’s new in low vision and blindness tech, and offer a hands-on opportunity to those in attendance.

 

Contact Albert Ruel for more information or to receive future notices.

Phone: 250-240-2343,

Email: GTT.Victoria@Gmail.com

 

***

VocalEye at the Belfry Theatre this fall

  1. The Children’s Republic

Sunday October 1 at 2 p.m.

  1. Onegin

Sunday, October 29 at 2 p.m.

 

Belfry Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Ave., Victoria

 

This year, the Belfry is offering an annual subscription to VocalEye patrons.  This subscription includes tickets to the VocalEye performances for each of their four main productions.  A subscription costs $98.68 including tax ($24.67 per show).  Single tickets are also available for $30.98 including tax.  There is no special rate for companions this year.

 

To purchase a single ticket or annual subscription call the Belfry box office:

250-385-6815

 

***

VIP Singers first practice

Monday September 18, 10 – 12

The VIP Singers is a group of blind and sighted singers and musicians who meet once a week to learn the words and harmonies (by ear) for original arrangements of popular songs and old time favourites.  Anyone who likes to sing is welcome.  The VIP Singers perform gigs at seniors’ homes and hospitals.  Practices are on Mondays from 10 – 12 at the James Bay New Horizons, 234 Menzies St.

 

New members are always welcome.  No previous choir experience is required.  If you like to sing, please join us.  For more information call Marcelina 250-516- 0584.

 

***

Victoria Community Report on AMI Audio

September 21 6:00 a.m. (repeated at 8 a.m.)

Linda Bartram has been contracted by AMI Audio as a Community Reporter for Victoria and Vancouver Island.  Her interview can be heard on Live from Studio Five every fourth Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. (repeated at 8 a.m.).  She will be featuring cultural events and activities of interest to persons who are blind.  AMI Audio can be found at 889 on your television or on line at

ami.ca/report-pacific

 

 

About the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind

 

The Pacific Training Centre for the Blind (PTCB) is a Canadian grassroots nonprofit charitable service organization founded and run by blind people.  Its training fosters independence, where blind people empower blind people to be employed, independent and free.

 

The Blind People in Charge Program, provided by the Pacific Training Centre for the Blind, is the only program of its kind in Western Canada that offers regular, intensive rehabilitation to people who are blind or who are losing their vision; it is also the only program that uses an empowering, problem-solving model of instruction, where blind people are the teachers, planners, directors and administrators.

 

The program involves a collaborative, positive, and empowering approach to blindness, where blind people learn from and teach each other in a supportive, can-do atmosphere. Instructors and mentors teach the skills of independence such as Braille, adaptive technology, cane travel, cooking and other life skills, and develop strategies for coping with blindness and vision loss in a sighted world.

 

The Blind People in Charge Program held at the Victoria Disability Resource Centre 817a Fort St., runs two days a week from 10:00 – 4:00 and participants are encouraged to attend as full time students (12 hours a week).  Drop in students are also considered.  Teaching takes place in group and one-on-one sessions and participants progress at their own pace.  Past participants have ranged in age from 24 – 88.  Anyone over 18 who is blind or is experiencing significant vision loss may apply including those who are experiencing other challenges.  There is no charge to students; however donations are always welcome.  For more information, or to participate in our program, please contact us.

 

Phone: 250-580-4910

Email:  info@pacifictrainingcentre.ca

 

 

CCB-GTT Victoria Summary Notes, Year in Review and Stuff, June 7, 2017

Get together with Technology (GTT) Victoria

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

Summary Notes
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
GVPL Main branch, Community Meeting Room

The meeting was called to order at 1:05 pm by chair Albert Ruel

Attendance: 23 people.

Albert welcomed everyone to the meeting, After a one month absence (where we took the meeting to Shaw last month) it was good to be back at the GVPL, for our final meeting before the 2 month summer break. Seeing as this is our last meeting for awhile, no formal agenda was presented, rather a “year in review” and “open discussion” were encouraged.

BlueSky TV:
The meeting started with some discussion about The BlueSky offering from Shaw. Partisipants were asked if they enjoyed the demo and if any members did elect to subscribe to the service. At least 4 participants said they had signed up for BlueSky.

Mike Carpenter gave a complete description and overview of the service. He personally is delighted with BlueSky. Several members had questions pertaining to just how accessible is the service, and it was agreed that it does have it’s limitations in regards to presenting the program grid and/or external app content. Rather then calling it an accessible product, it might better be described as an inclusive product, developed for mainstream consumption that is usable by the blind .

There does not seam to be a lot of print, or even web information available about the service, however Albert has gathered some YouTube videos from the States that describe the ComCast service (same service as blueSky) that he will make available via the blog.

Must remember takeaways, you must have Shaw150 speed internet. Button A on remote turns voice guidance on/off . Shaw FreeRange app works great with Voiceover on iPhone and iPads.

Capital and Nanaimo Region BC Transit Stop Announcement Updates:
Albert reported that plans for a fully accessible transit “stop announcement” and external audible bus identifier system is moving forward. Nanaimo will be one of the first BC Transit cities to realise the Service. They should be fully installed in all 7 announced BC Transit service centers by the end of next year.

Victoria Bicycle Lane Update:
The new Downtown bike lanes were discussed, Linda reported that there were several issues including bus stops located on islands. Major concern for VI transit users whereas the must cross the two way bike lanes to get to and from the transit stop. Also location transit stop not identified on main sidewalk. Linda encouraged everyone with issues in this regard to be vocal, report your concerns, experiences and issues with the city of Victoria.

Music Writing Apps for the computer:
Some general discussion about music writing software like MusScore and Lime took place. Jaws 18 and the issue of upgrading was talked about and Albert spoke about how to create accessible MS Word tables (Albert will share info with those interested).

Access Technology Institute Accessible Textbooks:
Accessible textbooks by CathyAnn Murtha, one of which is called An Immersion Into Word2013-JFW, were discussed by Albert, although expensive they are in his opinion the best out there and worth the money. You will find information on all their textbooks and training sessions at Access Technology Institute (ATI)GTT Blog, Facebook and Email Engagement Streams:
Albert encouraged everyone to sign up for our GTT blog for updates, and to join our facebook group and email discussion list. More information will be distributed to all currently on the GTT Victoria mailing list.

the new GTT FaceBook group for youth was announced and for anyone interested more info is available from the CCB National office or on the Blog. Addressing the tech needs of blind youth was viewed by the group as being an extremely worthwhile and forward thinking initiative.

Eyes-free academy by iHabilitation:
Tom Decker informed the group of a new inclusive learning project that is now available via iHabilitation Canada. It’s called the Eyes-free academy. The first course is being offered free of charge as a beta. For more info visit http://www.ihabilitationcanada.com. Tom is eager to receive feedback on the project and looking forward to offering many more courses. Stay tuned.

iOS Updates Coming to an iDevice Near You:
A brief discussion took place about the new offerings that will be a part of iOS11 (to be released later this fall). many new and exciting changes that will be discussed when the group gathers again in September and beyond.

Special Thanks to Karen and the GVPL for Hosting GTT Victoria for the Past Year:
A special “thank you” went out to Karen for her help and participation in CCB GTT Victoria. The Greater Victoria Public Library has been a strong supporter of the program. Our thanks go out to everyone at the library, we are proud and honoured to call the GVPL our home base for GTT Victoria. Karen informed the group that Scott Minroe, GVPL staff might be joining us in the fall, with Karen dropping in from time to time.

Meeting was adjourned at 3:10pm. HAVE A GREAT SUMMER !!!!!

Next meeting, Wednesday September 6, 2017

Minutes prepared and Submitted by Corry Stuive

 

Guest Post: Shaw Communications has recently released a “Usable by the blind” TV Service called, BlueSky TV

BlueSky TV by Shaw Communications

Here is what I learned about the base technology that Shaw has imported into Canada and are now calling BlueSky TV. It’s originally a ComCast system called X1 and is licensed by Shaw exclusively in Western Canada and Rogers in Eastern Canada for the next 3 years.

I wouldn’t call it completely accessible, however thanks to the Voice Guidance it is, for the most part, usable by blind folks. This is a service designed for and promoted to the sighted TV viewer, so not necessarily built with blind accessibility in mind.

Check out these videos.

How to use X1 Voice Guidance Talking Guide:

How to learn the X1 Remote Control Layout:

How to Program your X1 Remote Control to your TV and Audio Device:
(Sighted assistance may be needed)

Graphical Layout of the X1 Remote Control:
(Not accessible to blind) computer users)

For the ComCast Support Page in the USA:

Thx, Albert Ruel, GTT Coordinator
The Canadian Council of the Blind
Email: GTTWest@CCBNational.net
Mobile: 250-240-2343