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CCB Survey Reminder: Accessible and Assistive Technology Survey, extended to March 18, 2019

We need responses from all blind, partially sighted and deaf-blind volunteers, employees, retirees, unemployed and especially students.

 

the Canadian Council of the Blind

Accessible and Assistive Technology Survey

 

Take the Survey Here!

 

Prenez l’enquête ici!

 

*Français à suivre

 

Please Complete the Canadian Council of the Blind’s Accessible and Assistive Technology Survey

 

To My Fellow Brothers and Sisters Living with Vision Loss:

 

As you know, the employment rate of Canadians who are blind, partially-sighted, and deaf-blind is very low, and the cost of assistive and accessible technology is very high. Given these facts, the CCB is endeavouring to better understand your thoughts, experiences, and goals in these matters so that we may advocate for you more effectively. We want to work with you towards a future with a higher employment rate for those with vision loss as well as increased accessibility and independence.

 

Our goal is to eliminate or minimize the barriers limiting those with vision loss from acquiring the education of their choice and from entering and thriving in today’s workforce. So help us help you and submit the survey below!

 

Tell us about your circumstances. Where you are and where do you want to go? We want to help you get there.

 

Click here to complete the survey!

 

Please invest the 5 to 7 minutes it will take to complete the above survey by March 15, 2019. Once finished please forward this email to a friend with vision loss so they also can do it. With the accumulated information you will provide, we will be able to better understand the present status of Canadians with vision loss and to act accordingly. Thank you in advance for your participation.

 

All the best,

 

Louise Gillis

National President

Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Répondez au sondage, s’il vous plait!

 

À mes consœurs et confrères ayant une déficience visuelle,

 

Comme vous le savez, le taux d’emploi des Canadiens aveugles, ayant une déficience visuelle et sourds-aveugles est très faible, et le coût des technologies d’accessibilité et d’adaptation est très élevé. Compte tenu de ces faits, le CCA essaie de mieux comprendre vos idées, vos expériences et vos objectifs dans ces domaines, afin de mieux défendre vos droits. Nous voulons travailler avec vous pour atteindre un taux d’emploi plus élevé pour les personnes ayant une déficience visuelle, ainsi qu’une accessibilité et une autonomie accrues à l’avenir.

 

Notre objectif est d’éliminer ou de minimiser les obstacles qui empêchent les personnes ayant une déficience visuelle de suivre les études de leur choix, de s’intégrer à la population active d’aujourd’hui et de s’épanouir. Alors, aidez-nous dans ce sens et répondez au sondage ci-dessous!

 

Parlez-nous de votre situation. Où en êtes-vous maintenant et où voulez-vous vous rendre? Nous voulons vous aider à y parvenir.

 

Cliquez ici pour répondre au sondage!

 

Veuillez investir 5 à 7 minutes pour répondre au sondage ci-dessus d’ici le 15 mars 2019. Grâce aux informations que vous nous fournirez, nous serons en mesure de mieux comprendre la situation actuelle des Canadiens ayant une déficience visuelle et d’agir en conséquence. Merci à l’avance de votre participation.

 

Veuillez agréer mes salutations distinguées.

 

Louise Gillis

Présidente nationale

Conseil canadien des aveugles (CCA)

 

Prenez l’enquête ici!

 

Take the Survey Here!

 

 

Guest Post: Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-67

Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-67

Date Written: Mar 10, 2019 at 8:00 PM

Date Saved: 2019-03-11, 8:35 PM

Source: https://crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2019/2019-67.htm

Call for comments on an amendment proposed by Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc. to their condition of licence that requires prime time programming to be broadcast with described video

The Commission calls for comments on an application by Bell Media Inc., Corus Entertainment Inc. and Rogers Media Inc., on behalf of their licensees (the Licensees), requesting that the Commission amend their condition of licence that requires prime time programming (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) to be broadcast with described video effective 1 September 2019.

Specifically, the Licensees requested an exception to that condition of licence to be allowed to air non-Canadian programs received less than 72 hours prior to broadcast without described video. For such programming, repeat airings with described video would be scheduled in prime time at a time greater than 72 hours from delivery.

The deadline for the receipt of interventions is 25 April 2019. Only parties that file interventions may file a reply to matters raised during the intervention phase. The deadline to file replies is 13 May 2019.

Introduction

  1. The Commission is committed to improving the accessibility of the broadcasting system for persons with disabilities. This objective of Canada’s broadcasting policy is prescribed in section 3(1)(p) of the Broadcasting Act, which states that programming accessible by disabled persons should be provided within the Canadian broadcasting system as resources become available for the purpose.
  2. Television plays an important role in shaping Canadian society. It is a primary source of news, entertainment and sports programming, and plays a critical role in making Canadians aware of the wide range of ideas and perspectives that make up the rich fabric of our society. As a result, it is important that all Canadians have access to what television has to offer.
  3. Described video is a narrated description of a program’s main visual elements, such as setting, costumes and body language. It helps to make television programming accessible for people with visual disabilities by allowing them to better understand what is occurring on the screen. Described video thus enables accessibility of broadcast information, entertainment, ideas and perspectives that all Canadians enjoy.
  4. Recognizing the importance of described video, the Commission has incrementally increased the availability of programming with described video in the Canadian broadcasting system since 2001 to ensure the continual availability of a greater diversity of described video content.
  5. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2015-104, the Commission stated that it would implement a tiered approach to the provision of described video. This approach would ramp up described video requirements over time in accordance with the size and resources of broadcasters. Specifically, by 1 September 2019, broadcasters currently subject to described video requirements, as well as those that belong to vertically integrated entities, will be required to provide described video for their prime time programming (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) that falls under the identified program categories1 seven days per week.
  6. In Broadcasting Regulatory Policy 2016-436, the Commission established standard conditions of licence to that effect that would be imposed during the subsequent television licence renewals. However, the Commission also noted in that regulatory policy that requirements relating to the provision of described video for undertakings for which more substantial levels are appropriate would be discussed with those undertakings at licence renewals and imposed on a case-by-case basis. Accordingly, when the Commission renewed the broadcasting licences for the English- and French-language stations and services belonging to large ownership groups in 2017, it imposed the described video requirement as a standard condition of licence, which reads as follows: The licensee shall, by 1 September 2019, provide described video for all English- and French-language programming that is broadcast during prime time (i.e., from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and that is drawn from program categories 2(b) Long-form documentary, 7 Drama and comedy, 9 Variety, 11(a) General entertainment and human interest and 11(b) Reality television, and/or is programming targeting preschool children (0-5 years of age) and children (6-12 years of age).

Experience of Canadians

  1. Users of described video have consistently expressed to the Commission the value of traditional and conventional television programming. Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have stated that television continues to be their primary source of media and that described video programming directly contributes to a higher quality of life.
  2. In past proceedings, Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have requested that the Commission increase described video programming specifically during prime time hours, arguing that such programming aired solely at daytime and/or nighttime hours neither meets their viewing needs nor provides for an equitable level of programming available to other viewers. They stated that while they often pay the same price for programming as other television subscribers, they can access only a fraction of the programming.

Application requesting an exception to described video requirements

  1. On 28 November 2018, Bell Media Inc. (Bell), Corus Entertainment Inc. (Corus) and Rogers Media Inc. (Rogers), on behalf of their licensees (the Licensees), filed a Part 1 application requesting that the Commission amend their condition of licence that requires prime time programming (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) to be broadcast with described video effective 1 September 2019.
  2. Specifically, the Licensees requested an exception to that condition of licence to be allowed to air non-Canadian programs received less than 72 hours prior to broadcast without described video. For such programming, repeat airings with described video would be scheduled in prime time at a time greater than 72 hours from delivery.
  3. The Licensees argued that the exception is necessary because a significant amount of U.S. content arrives without embedded described video very close to the time of broadcast and that there is insufficient time to produce or outsource described video in these circumstances. They added that live described video is not a viable option.
  4. Without being granted this amendment, the Licensees stated that they would be unable to meet the prime time described video requirements by 1 September 2019. They also proposed that broadcasters be required to keep a log detailing the receipt date of all U.S. programs received without described video and broadcast in prime time, and provided a template for that purpose.
  5. The application includes letters from described video production houses and various U.S.-based production/distribution studios that specify timeframes for delivery to Canada for first-run television series. The application and supporting letters can be found on the Commission’s website.

Call for comments

  1. The Commission calls for comments on the Licensees’ proposal to amend the condition of licence on described video,2 as follows (changes are in bold): 
The licensee shall, by 1 September 2019, provide described video for all English- and French-language programming that is broadcast during prime time (i.e., from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.) and that is drawn from program categories 2(b) Long-form documentary, 7 Drama and comedy, 9 Variety, 11(a) General entertainment and human interest and 11(b) Reality television, and/or is programming targeting preschool children (0-5 years of age) and children (6-12 years of age) with the exception of non-Canadian programs that are received less than 72 hours prior to air. Such programs will be broadcast with described video for repeat airings scheduled in prime time greater than 72 hours from delivery.
  2. Further, the Commission is seeking comments regarding issues raised by the application, such as:

◦           the specific first-run prime time programs that are at issue in this application;

◦           the impact on viewers;

◦           the manner in which viewers could find accurate information concerning the scheduling of repeat airings of the programming at issue;

◦           the reason(s) why a significant amount of non-Canadian programming arrives without embedded described video;

◦           the commercial arrangements that the Licensees have with their suppliers of non-Canadian programming to procure first-run prime time programming with embedded described video;

◦           alternative approaches that would allow the Licensees to meet their described video requirements; and

◦           measures the Commission should take, if any, to be satisfied that the Licensees would be compliant with the proposed exception, should the Commission grant it.

  1. 
Though the specific questions are set out in the appendix to this notice, interventions may address any issue relevant to the proposed amendment.

Disposal of application

  1. The Commission considers that the requests made by the Licensees would be better addressed through this notice of consultation. Bell, Corus and Rogers are therefore made parties to this proceeding, and their 28 November 2018 application and supporting letters referenced above are made part of the record of this proceeding.
  2. Consequently, the application is closed, and the matters raised therein will be dealt with according to the procedure set out in this notice.

Procedure

  1. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission Rules of Practice and Procedure (the Rules of Procedure) apply to the present proceeding. The Rules of Procedure set out, among other things, the rules for content, format, filing and service of interventions, answers, replies and requests for information; the procedure for filing confidential information and requesting its disclosure; and the conduct of public hearings. Accordingly, the procedure set out below must be read in conjunction with the Rules of Procedure and related documents, which can be found on the Commission’s website under “Statutes and Regulations.” The guidelines set out in Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2010-959 provide information to help interested persons and parties understand the Rules of Procedure so that they can more effectively participate in Commission proceedings.
  2. The Commission invites interventions that address the issues and questions set out in the appendix to this notice. The Commission will accept interventions that it receives on or before 25 April 2019. Only parties that file interventions may file a reply to matters raised during the intervention phase. The deadline for the filing of replies is 13 May 2019. The Commission may request information, in the form of interrogatories, from any party to the proceeding.
  3. The Commission encourages interested persons and parties to monitor the record of the proceeding, available on the Commission’s website, for additional information that they may find useful when preparing their submissions.
  4. Submissions longer than five pages should include a summary. Each paragraph of all submissions should be numbered, and the line ***End of document*** should follow the last paragraph. This will help the Commission verify that the document has not been damaged during electronic transmission.
  5. Pursuant to Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin 2015-242, the Commission expects incorporated entities and associations, and encourages all Canadians, to file submissions for Commission proceedings in accessible formats (for example, text-based file formats that allow text to be enlarged or modified, or read by screen readers). To provide assistance in this regard, the Commission has posted on its website guidelines for preparing documents in accessible formats.
  6. Submissions must be filed by sending them to the Secretary General of the Commission using only one of the following means: 
by completing the
[Intervention/comment/answer form]
or
by mail to
CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2
or
by fax at
819-994-0218
  7. Parties who send documents electronically must ensure that they will be able to prove, upon Commission request, that filing, or where required, service of a particular document was completed. Accordingly, parties must keep proof of the sending and receipt of each document for 180 days after the date on which the document is filed or served. The Commission advises parties who file or serve documents by electronic means to exercise caution when using email for the service of documents, as it may be difficult to establish that service has occurred.
  8. In accordance with the Rules of Procedure, a document must be received by the Commission and all relevant parties by 5 p.m. Vancouver time (8 p.m. Ottawa time) on the date it is due. Parties are responsible for ensuring the timely delivery of their submissions and will not be notified if their submissions are received after the deadline. Late submissions, including those due to postal delays, will not be considered by the Commission and will not be made part of the public record.
  9. The Commission will not formally acknowledge submissions. It will, however, fully consider all submissions, which will form part of the public record of the proceeding, provided that the procedure for filing set out above has been followed.

Important notice

  1. All information that parties provide as part of this public process, except information designated confidential, whether sent by postal mail, fax, email or through the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca, becomes part of a publicly accessible file and will be posted on the Commission’s website. This information includes personal information, such as full names, email addresses, postal/street addresses, telephone and fax numbers, etc.
  2. The personal information that parties provide will be used and may be disclosed for the purpose for which the information was obtained or compiled by the Commission, or for a use consistent with that purpose.
  3. Documents received electronically or otherwise will be put on the Commission’s website in their entirety exactly as received, including any personal information contained therein, in the official language and format in which they are received. Documents not received electronically will be available in PDF format.
  4. The information that parties provide to the Commission as part of this public process is entered into an unsearchable database dedicated to this specific public process. This database is accessible only from the web page of this particular public process. As a result, a general search of the Commission’s website with the help of either its own search engine or a third-party search engine will not provide access to the information that was provided as part of this public process.

Availability of documents

  1. Electronic versions of the interventions and of other documents referred to in this notice, are available on the Commission’s website at www.crtc.gc.ca by visiting the “Have your say!” section, then selecting “our open processes.” Documents can then be accessed by clicking on the links in the “Subject” and “Related Documents” columns associated with this particular notice.
  2. Documents are also available at the following address, upon request, during normal business hours. 
Les Terrasses de la Chaudière
Central Building
1 Promenade du Portage, Room 206
Gatineau, Quebec
J8X 4B1
Tel.: 819-997-2429 
Fax: 819-994-0218
Toll-free telephone: 1-877-249-2782
Toll-free TTY: 1-877-909-2782

Secretary General

  • Rogers Media Inc. – Licence renewals for English-language television stations, services and network, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-151, 15 May 2017
  • Corus Entertainment Inc. – Licence renewals for English-language television stations and services, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-150, 15 May 2017
  • Bell Media Inc. – Licence renewals for English-language television stations and services, Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2017-149, 15 May 2017
  • Standard requirements for television stations, discretionary services, and on-demand services, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2016-436, 2 November 2016
  • Filing submissions for Commission proceedings in accessible formats, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2015-242, 8 June 2015
  • Let’s Talk TV – Navigating the Road Ahead – Making informed choices about television providers and improving accessibility to television programming, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2015-104, 26 March 2015
  • Guidelines on the CRTC Rules of Practice and Procedure, Broadcasting and Telecom Information Bulletin CRTC 2010-959, 23 December 2010

Appendix to Broadcasting Notice of Consultation CRTC 2019-67

Questions regarding described video requirements

Questions for Canadian viewers

Q1. In a scenario in which the Commission grants the amendment proposed by the Licensees, what would be the impact on your viewing experience? Include in your answer any steps that the Licensees could take to address these impacts.

Q2. How would granting the proposed amendment affect your ability to find out about when and how the programming at issue will be rebroadcast with described video? Include in your answer any actions that the Licensees could take to address this concern.

Questions for Bell, Corus and Rogers

Q3. This application raises what appears to be a procurement issue that could be resolved through amendments to existing procurement/licensing agreements with suppliers or in future negotiations. As such, the need for an exception as proposed by the Licensees would appear to be temporary in nature. Provide comment on the period of time required for the proposed exception, with supporting rationale.

Q4. Should the Commission agree with the need for an exception, the amended condition of licence, as proposed, would exclude “non-Canadian programs that are received less than 72 hours prior to air.” The proposed wording would, in theory, include non-Canadian programming that contains embedded described video. Provide comment on whether the proposed wording of the condition of licence accurately reflects the exception sought and, if not, propose alternative wording.

Q5. In a scenario in which the Commission grants the proposed amendment:

  1. Describe the approach that your organization would take to schedule the repeat programming at issue during prime time. In your response, specify the proximity of the repeat airing with described video to the first-run airing without described video in hours, days, weeks or months, as applicable for each program.
  2. Describe how you will clearly communicate the repeat airings of the programming with described video to your customers who rely on described video to ensure that they know when and how they can access this programming.
  3. Identify the reporting requirements, if any, that in your view would be appropriate to satisfy the Commission and Canadians that you have met the scheduling and communication commitments that you have detailed in your response to 5a. and b.

Q6. Provide your assessment of the impact of the proposed amendment on the viewing experience of your customers who rely on described video in accessing and enjoying first-run prime time programming. Include in your response input from consultations held with these customers.

 

Guest Post: Work-Able Graduate Internship Program for People with Disabilities, BC Public Service

Work-Able Graduate Internship Program for People with Disabilities

BC Public Service
Multiple Locations 

Salary $1,761.54 bi-weekly
Multiple Locations –  Abbottsford, Burnaby, Courtenay, Kamloops, Kelowna, Maple Ridge, Nanaimo, Penticton, Prince George, Smithers, Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria

21 Temporary Part/Full-time Position from September 3, 2019 to August 28, 2020

The Work-Able Internship Program is a paid twelve month BC Public Service work experience program for recent post-secondary graduates who self-identify as having a disability. This unique program provides learning, coaching and mentorship throughout the internship and interns will gain valuable skills and public service experience.

We offer extensive training, growth and development opportunities, a competitive salary and a balance between work and life commitments. We are committed to continuing to be an employer of choice and providing a professional environment where ideas work.

To be eligible for the Work-Able Internship Program you must:

  • Self-identify as a person with a disability;
  • Reside in B.C.; and
  • Have completed the graduation requirements for a 2-year Diploma, Associate Degree, Under-graduate Degree or a Graduate Degree from a recognized post-secondary institution between the dates of April 1, 2016 and September 3, 2019. 

This is a challenging and rewarding program where you will gain an increased understanding of public service roles and learn about possible future employment opportunities with the provincial government. Visit our Career Page to find out more.

To learn more and apply before April 30, 2019, please go to:

https://bcpublicservice.hua.hrsmart.com/hr/ats/Posting/view/58482

 Attention: only applications submitted through the BC Public Service’s employment website (see link above) will be accepted.

 

Guest Post: The Canadian Blind Chess Association and the 2019 Quebec City tournament

Are you an avid chess player living in Canada?

Or maybe you are an aspiring one who is looking for ways to play chess and have some fun while at the same time make new chess friends?

Then the Canadian Blind Chess Association may be what you are looking for.

Why not become a member and join our group!

Come on in and let’s play chess together!

We want to invite you to register for the Quebec chess tournament to be held in April.

It’s opened to everyone!

For more info on the annual Quebec chess tournament please go to this link:

for more information about the Quebec City tournament and to look for the Canadian Blind Chess Association on Facebook, contact Rebecca at

amrywoddyddiauheulog@gmail.com

or at

cqpa@bellnet.ca

 

CCB National: Répondez au sondage, s’il vous plait

The English version of this CCB Employmet and Technology survey is found at:

https://gttprogram.blog/2019/02/22/your-feedback-is-important-ccb-survey-on-employment-and-technology/

À mes consœurs et confrères ayant une déficience visuelle,

 

Comme vous le savez, le taux d’emploi des Canadiens aveugles, ayant une déficience visuelle et sourds-aveugles est très faible, et le coût des technologies d’accessibilité et d’adaptation est très élevé. Compte tenu de ces faits, le CCA essaie de mieux comprendre vos idées, vos expériences et vos objectifs dans ces domaines, afin de mieux défendre vos droits. Nous voulons travailler avec vous pour atteindre un taux d’emploi plus élevé pour les personnes ayant une déficience visuelle, ainsi qu’une accessibilité et une autonomie accrues à l’avenir.

 

Notre objectif est d’éliminer ou de minimiser les obstacles qui empêchent les personnes ayant une déficience visuelle de suivre les études de leur choix, de s’intégrer à la population active d’aujourd’hui et de s’épanouir. Alors, aidez-nous dans ce sens et répondez au sondage ci-dessous!

 

Parlez-nous de votre situation. Où en êtes-vous maintenant et où voulez-vous vous rendre? Nous voulons vous aider à y parvenir.

 

Cliquez ici pour répondre au sondage!

 

Veuillez investir 8 à 10 minutes pour répondre au sondage ci-dessus d’ici le 15 mars 2019. Grâce aux informations que vous nous fournirez, nous serons en mesure de mieux comprendre la situation actuelle des Canadiens ayant une déficience visuelle et d’agir en conséquence. Merci à l’avance de votre participation.

 

Veuillez agréer mes salutations distinguées.

 

Louise Gillis

Présidente nationale

Conseil canadien des aveugles (CCA

Repost: Siri Shortcuts gets more useful: A shortcut guide to animating routines on your iPhone By Edward C. Baig,

Siri Shortcuts gets more useful: A shortcut guide to animating routines on your iPhone

By Edward C. Baig,

USA TODAY, 11:01 a.m. PST Feb. 28, 2019

 

The original article is found here:

 

The Siri Shortcuts feature that Apple launched last fall as part of iOS 12 has always had oodles of potential. And for some of you this feature, which lets you use your voice to automate a string of tasks or routines, may have just gotten a whole lot more useful.

On Thursday, Apple announced a fresh set of integrated Siri Shortcuts, which are just now available or coming soon, and which the company says joins the thousands of other apps that already take advantage of the feature. American Airlines and Airbnb join existing app partners such as Marriott’s Bonvoy, Pandora, Waze and The Weather Channel.

 

The basic idea behind the Shortcuts feature is that Siri can learn your app preferences and routines over a period of time to suggest shortcuts that can streamline tasks or commands on your iPhone or iPad, and in more limited instances on the Apple Watch, HomePod or AirPods. (The feature doesn’t work with Macs or on Apple TV, despite Siri’s presence on the hardware.)

 

Shortcuts work with the apps you already have on your devices. Some suggested shortcuts will appear automatically on the lock screen of your device or when you do a search, recommending, right then and there, for example, to call or message your spouse. You tap the button to activate the particular shortcut that shows up. You can initiate other shortcuts yourself by uttering a short designated phrase out loud.

What’s more, though fewer of you are likely to do so, you can also fetch the Apple Shortcuts app for free in the App Store and create your own custom shortcuts built around a personalized voice phrase you record.

The Amazon smart home: From Echo to Ring doorbell and Fire TV, are you comfortable with Amazon controlling your smart home?

Fortnite dip: Has ‘Fortnite’ peaked? As season 8 arrives, research suggests revenue dipped in January Apple is seeking ways to make Siri more helpful, especially in light of the fact that many pundits believe that its digital assistant lags Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant, both of which also let you create customized routines via voice, often through Echo or Google Home smart speakers.

Samsung has similar designs with the Quick Commands feature associated with its Bixby assistant.

Among the newly announced Siri Shortcuts is one from American Airlines that will let you summon flight updates by voice (“Hey Siri, flight update”).

Such updates are contextual: Before leaving your house, you can get the drive time to the airport along with a map. After checking in, you’ll receive an updated flight status with a map of the terminal showing the gate location, walking time to that gate and boarding time.

 

Another new shortcut, from Merriam Webster Dictionary, will let you ask Siri for the word of the day.

A third new shortcut, from the Caviar local food delivery app, responds to commands such as “Hey Siri, order my usual pizza” or “Hey Siri, Caviar order status.”

Some of the Apple shortcuts integrate with some of your connected smart home appliances  For example, shortcuts tied to the Drop and Smarter apps will let you control coffee makers by voice.

Others shortcuts are meant to work with health devices you may use in conjunction with the iPhone. The Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System, for example, launched a shortcut that enables diabetics better manage glucose levels through their app (“Hey Siri, what’s my blood glucose?”).

Coming soon is a shortcut for ReSound hearing aids that will enable a person who is hard of hearing change the device settings, depending on the environment (“Hey Siri, restaurant mode.”) Building your own shortcuts To see which of your favorite apps have shortcut integrations, on your iPhone, visit Settings > Siri & Search > All Shortcuts.

To build your own shortcut, launch the Shortcuts app, and choose actions or building blocks, which are each of the basic steps that will make up your app. Apple presents a number of suggestions inside the app. For example, if you want to add a shortcut called Log Workout in conjunction with the Health app on your phone, you’d choose the type of activity (running, swimming, etc.), the duration, the calories burned or distance. You can then record the personalized phrase that would tell Siri to run the shortcut.

Inside the app you’ll also find a Gallery of premade Shortcuts that you might take advantage of.  Among the Morning Routine options, you’ll see, are shortcuts that let you know when to leave home so you won’t be late for work, as well as a brushing teeth timer that will make you sure you’re at it for a full two minutes.

 

Since shortcuts can be shared, you might want to pass that one along to your kids.

 

 

Resource: New Tech for 2019: A Wrap-up of the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference – AccessWorld® – February 2019

New Tech for 2019: A Wrap-up of the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference

Author: J.J. Meddaugh

Date Written: Feb 23, 2019 at 4:00 PM

Date Saved: 2/24/19, 10:59 AM

Source: http://www.afb.org/afbpress/pubnew.asp?DocID=aw200208

2019 looks to be a busy year for new products and innovations, as evidenced by the exhibit hall at the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) annual conference in Orlando. This year’s event was held January 30 through February 2 at the Caribe Royale Hotel and Convention Center and featured an array of devices from transportable video magnifiers to tech toys for kids and seniors. I’ve recapped some of the major highlights below. AFB AccessWorld also sponsored exhibit hall coverage on Blind Bargains, and links are included to audio interviews with text transcripts where appropriate.

The BrailleNote Touch Gets Refreshed

Humanware’s BrailleNote Touch has been a popular option for students and teachers since its release in 2016. But the hybrid touchscreen and braille keyboard device has been stuck on an outdated version of Android due to hardware limitations.

Humanware sought to modernize the notetaker with the announcement of the BrailleNote Touch Plus. It has basically the same shell and shape as its predecessor, but includes a faster processor, a USBC port for charging, and the Android 8.1 Oreo operating system. As Humanware’s Andrew Flatters explains in this Blind Bargains interview, moving to a modern version of Android allows Humanware to take advantage of up-to-date features such as the Chrome Web browser and the Google Assistant for voice commands. The unit also includes 4GB of memory and 64GB of built-in storage as well as support for more modern wireless and Bluetooth protocols.

Orders can be placed now for the BrailleNote Touch Plus in either 18- or 32-cell configurations, at $4,195 and $5,695 respectively. Current BrailleNote Touch users can upgrade to the new model, which will transplant the existing braille cells to a new unit, for $1,295.

A Braille Display of a Different Kind

The cost of a 32- or 18-cell braille display is still prohibitive for many people, so a company called BraiBook is offering an alternative idea with a product of the same name. The mouse-sized device includes a single braille cell and can be loaded with books in several formats. Characters are displayed in contracted or uncontracted braille a cell at a time, and the speed can be controlled using a joystick. A headphone jack allows the user to plug in an external headset or speaker to hear words as they are displayed. The small size and weight of the unit is its major advantage. But reading braille one cell at a time can be either tediously slow or nearly impossible, depending on the speed of the unit, potentially requiring a sharp learning curve. Priced at around $450, it faces an uphill climb against the likes of the Orbit Reader and BrailleMe, two 20-cell units available for about the same price. Hear more with an interview with BraiBook CEO Sébastien Lefebvre.

Magnified Options for People with Low Vision Revealed

There was no shortage of new video magnifying options on display at the conference. This year’s focus was on updates to what are often referred to as transportable video magnifiers, units that generally will sit on a desk but are light enough to be moved around if necessary.

Irie-AT is introducing the ReadEasy Evolve to the United States, a video magnifier that can capture an entire 11-by-17-inch sheet of paper in a single picture, useful for large items such as newspaper pages. Capturing is accomplished by moving the camera between two different mounting points. The lower camera hole is designed to read standard-sized paper, while the elevated slot is for larger documents. It was quick and painless to move the camera between the two slots. As for the actual reading of text, this was accomplished within about 4 seconds, though the company is working to make this even faster. Speech was clear using modern voices from the Vocalizer speech engine, and the optional keypad can be used for finer control. An optional monitor can be attached for users with low vision.

The 4-pound ReadEasy Evolve folds so it can be taken with you, and will run on an optional battery pack. The base unit is available from Irie-AT for about $2,000. You can listen to a demo with Irie-AT CEO Jeff Gardner who also talks about a new affordable braille embosser called the Braille Buddy.

Back over at the Humanware booth, two new and slightly heavier desktop magnifiers were announced, the Reveal 16 and Reveal 16I. Weighing in at a still transportable 13 pounds, Humanware is targeting these two models at two very different markets. The Reveal 16 is designed for seniors and elementary school students who desire a simple unit with basic controls. It features only four buttons: power, autofocus, zoom, and contrast. Images can be magnified from 1X to 45X and displayed in a variety of contrast modes. The camera can either point down at the base of the unit or be pointed outward for distance viewing.

Advanced users may prefer the Reveal 16I, which offers the same features as the basic model but adds a touchscreen, an OCR camera, and a fifth button, used for switching to an Android 7 tablet. Users of the Prodigi interface will be familiar with this mode, which can be used to read books aloud or run Android apps from Google Play.

Both models collapse and can be carried using an optional case. The Reveal 16 retails for $2,995 while the Reveal 16I sells for $3,995. Learn more with Humanware’s Eric Beauchamp who talks everything low-vision in this podcast.

A New Kind of Wearable

There weren’t as many wearables in the hall as in 2018, but Zoomax was showing a new take on the category. The Acesight is a lightweight headset that displays images using augmented reality. Individual screens are centered over each eye and display magnified images of what’s in front of you. This approach allows you to focus on what’s ahead of you while using your peripheral vision to see other items at the same time. Magnification is available in a variety of contrast modes from 1.1X to 15X. The Acesight will be available soon for $4,995. Learn more from Zoomax’s David Bradburn in this podcast.

Teaching Braille and Code to Kids

The American Printing House for the Blind was showing two products designed to teach important concepts to children who are visually impaired. BrailleBuzz is a toy designed for kids ages 2-5 to teach braille letters. The bumblebee-shaped toy includes buttons for each braille letter that announce the letter or its sound when pressed. A 6-cell Perkins-style braille keyboard is positioned below and will speak the braille letter that is typed, or play a sound if something besides a braille letter is entered. The BrailleBuzz is designed in the style of other audio-based children’s toys that teach basic letter and phonics concepts. It’s available now for $99.

Older kids may love Code Jumper, an educational toy collaboration between APH and Microsoft for teaching basic coding concepts. More and more kids are learning how to write code for computers or mobile devices, and many systems have been created to teach early foundations and concepts at a young age. Code Jumper is one of the first of these systems to be fully accessible for people who are blind or visually impaired.

The brains of the device are housed in the Code Jumper Hub, a Bluetooth device that will play back sounds or music based on what it is connected to. You may not be familiar with programming concepts such as loops, constants, or if statements, but the hands-on approach to the connected pods illustrates these and more to the most novice student or teacher. APH also plans on developing lessons for both teachers and students to complement the system. You can sign up for a waiting list to be informed when the product is released, likely later this year.

A New Guide for Seniors

Dolphin has completely rewritten the software it designed to simplify the Internet for seniors. The new GuideConnect allows you to read and write emails, listen to radio stations, read books, and browse the Web using a simplified interface. The Windows 10 software runs on computers, tablets, and can even be displayed on a TV using a customized set-top box and a remote control, similar to a Roku. The product will be available from Irie-AT in the United States starting at around $800, depending on options. You can listen to Gareth Collins talk about the benefits of the new software and other Dolphin developments in this podcast.

Conclusion

The ATIA conference was busier than in past years, and several major products were announced over the four-day event. We will continue to follow many of these products as they are released, and review some of them in future issues of AccessWorld. The CSUN Assistive Technology Conference, our next big opportunity to learn about new technology, moves to Anaheim this year and will be March 11-15. If you can’t make it, you can read about it right here.

This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.

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Copyright © 2019 American Foundation for the Blind. All rights reserved. AccessWorld is a trademark of the American Foundation for the Blind.

Guest Post: Turn off the built-in password manager in your browser

Turn off the built-in password manager in your browser

 

Learn how to stop your browser from asking to save your passwords, so it doesn’t interfere with 1Password.

 

Safari

To stop Safari from asking to save your passwords:

 

list of 3 items

1Click the Safari menu and choose Preferences.

2Click the AutoFill icon.

3Turn off all the AutoFill web forms settings: “Using info from my contacts”, “User names and passwords”, “Credit cards”, and “Other forms”.

list end

 

Chrome

To stop Chrome from asking to save your passwords:

 

list of 3 items

1Click the Chrome menu    in the toolbar and choose Settings.

2Click Passwords.

3Turn off “Offer to save passwords”.

list end

 

Firefox

To stop Firefox from asking to save your passwords:

 

list of 3 items

1Click the Firefox menu  in the toolbar and choose Preferences.

2Click Privacy & Security.

3Turn off “Remember logins and passwords for websites”.

list end

 

Microsoft Edge

To stop Microsoft Edge from asking to save your passwords:

 

list of 3 items

1Click the “Settings and more” menu    and choose Settings.

2Scroll to the bottom and click “View advanced settings”.

3Scroll to the “Autofill settings” section and turn off “Save passwords”.

list end

 

Internet Explorer

To stop Internet Explorer from asking to save your passwords:

 

list of 4 items

1Click the Settings menu  and choose “Internet options”.

2Click the Content tab.

3In the AutoComplete section, click Settings.

4Turn off “Forms and Searches” and “User names and passwords on forms”, then click OK.

list end

 

Published: Oct 2, 2018

 

Guest Post: WBU and ACB Announce Results from the First Worldwide Survey of Audio Description Activity

WBU and ACB Announce Results from the First Worldwide Survey of Audio Description Activity

 

Feb. 7, 2019

 

A new international survey reveals that audio description (AD) is an important assistive technology worldwide providing access to people who are blind or have low vision to the arts and many other visually-rich events.

 

The new international AD survey (69 countries and the Pacific Disability Forum) finds that:

 

.67% of respondents said that AD is available in the respondent’s country;

.cinema, television, live performing arts, and DVDs lead the list of the type of AD experiences available (followed by museums, the web, smartphones, in educational settings and in visitors’ centers);

.almost 45% said that AD is required by law (64% of those respondents reported that it was required for broadcast television); and

.99% of respondents said that they believe AD or more AD should be available.

 

The World Blind Union and the American Council of the Blind are long-time supporters of the growth of AD.  Both groups are eager to learn more about the use of AD by people who are blind or have low vision in its member nations, including some of the barriers to its use.  (The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 253 million people live with vision impairment.)

 

Audio description makes visual information of media and the visual or performing arts, in particular, more accessible to persons who are blind or vision impaired.  For media and in the performing arts, language, carefully crafted and timed, is voiced usually during the natural pauses in a program’s original soundtrack.

 

Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind, emphasizes that “Cultural activities are an important element of our society, often expressing values, trends, fads, historical perspectives, or future directions.  People who are blind or visually impaired want and need to be a part of society in all its aspects.  Audio description provides the means for blind or visually impaired people to have full and equal participation in cultural life, accessibility to an event, and the right to be first-class citizens. In short, the ability to contribute to, participate in, and enjoy the treasures that society offers.”

 

Jose Viera, CEO of the World Blind Union, says that “Throughout the world unemployment among people is a significant problem.  I am certain that with more meaningful access to our culture and its resources, people become more informed, more engaged with society and more engaging individuals-thus, more employable.”

 

The full report from this survey is available at:

http://acb.org/adp/docs/WBU-ACB%20%20AD%20Survey-FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

 

Additional information about ACB’s Audio Description Project is available

at:

www.acb.org/adp.

 

About the World Blind Union

 

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the internationally recognized organization, representing the 253 million blind and partially sighted persons in 190 member countries. We are the voice of the blind, speaking to governments and international bodies on issues concerning blindness and low vision in conjunction with our members.

 

WBU brings together all the major national and international organizations of blind persons and those organizations providing services to people with low vision to work on the issues affecting the quality of life for blind people. Globally, we are divided into six regions, with each region having its own President and volunteer executive team to assist the needs of the local members.

 

For more information about the World Blind Union, contact Jose Viera, CEO, World Blind Union, 1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario  Canada M4G3E8; phone 1-416-486-9698, e-mail: info@wbu.ngo

 

About the American Council of the Blind

 

The American Council of the Blind is a national membership organization. Its members are blind, visually impaired, and fully sighted individuals who are concerned about the dignity and well-being of blind people throughout the nation.

 

Formed in 1961, the ACB is one of the largest organizations of blind people in the world, with more than 70 state and special-interest affiliates and a nationwide network of chapters and members spanning the globe.

 

For more information about the American Council of the Blind, contact:  Eric Bridges, Executive Director, American Council of the Blind, 1703 N Beauregard Street  #420, Alexandria, VA 22311;  phone (202) 467-5081 or toll-free, 1-800-424-8666; or  visit the web site,

www.acb.org.

 

 

Resource: artificial intelligence technologies is seeking Testers using Android Devices

Hey friends,

 

We are an MIT-based startup that’s developing artificial intelligence technology for the visually impaired and the blind. We have recently released a test version of our first app on Android. It is very different from any of the existing apps such as Envision or SeeingAI. It helps you locate empty chairs, doors, stairs, and other objects around you, by using cutting-edge artificial intelligence.

 

We are accepting a limited number of tech-savvy people to try the app out before it is released and become a tester for artificial intelligence technologies. If you are interested, you can follow this link:

 

Google Play Store link

 

I am looking forward to hearing your feedback.

 

Best,

 

Emre Sarbak

Mediate