GTT New Westminster Summary Notes, Web Browsing with PC Screen Readers, June 26, 2019

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

New Westminster Meeting

 

A Chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind

in partnership with

Blind Beginnings

And

Vancouver Community College

 

Summary Notes

June 26, 2019

 

Find the CCB Podcast of this event at the link below:

04 GTT New Westminster, Web Browsing with PC Screen Readers, June 26, 2019:

 

Windows 10 Shortcut Keys:

 

JAWS Keyboard Commands:

 

NVDA Keyboard Commands:

 

Narrator Keyboard Commands:

 

Google Chrome Shortcut Keys:

 

Firefox Shortcut Keys:

 

General Windows, Mac, MS Office Shortcut Keys:

 

On June 26, 2019 Ryan Fleury and Albert Ruel presented some favourite shortcut keys to the GTT New Westminster group based on the below list.

Ryan’s frequently used Windows keyboard commands:

Insert W application hot keys

Insert h jaws hot key info for application

Windows x works like a mini start menu

Windows I quickly jump to windows settings

Windows r opens the run dialogue

Insert spacebar h brings up jaws speech history

Windows E opens windows/file explorer

Windows D to go to desktop

 

 

Albert’s frequently used Windows keyboard commands:

Insert T, Task Bar

Insert F, Font attributes in JAWS

Insert B, read the pop up window

Control Z, undo

Insert number row 1, keyboard help toggle

Control X, C and V, Cut, copy and paste

Control B, U and I, bold, underline and italic

Windows B, System Tray

 

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

 

Albert Ruel                   or                       Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                               1-877-304-0968,513

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                GTTProgram@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: www.ccbnational.net

 

 

 

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, Lucia Accessible Cell Phone, June 12, 2019

GTT National Conference Call.

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

June 12, 2019

 

Find the CCB Podcast of this event at the link below:

02 GTT National Conference Call, Lucia Accessible Cell Phone, June 12, 2019:

Robert Felgar, CEO, Raz Mobility  attended the GTT National Conference Call to tell us all about the Lucia talking cell phone that is now available for sale to Canadians.

  • Lucia is an Accessible mobile phone for individuals who are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing or seniors.
  • Lucia is a user-friendly cell phone that allows persons who are disabled to remain independent.
  • Advanced features such as accessible buttons in different colors and shapes, voice guide to transform the phone into a talking companion, ergonomic design, combined with long battery life, make this high-quality, Swiss-made phone the perfect mobile phone for users who are disabled.
  • Lucia has a powerful battery and can operate for more than one week before requiring a charge (up to 7 days standby time and 10 hours of talking time).
  • Lucia allows users who are blind to enter their own contacts and move through the contact list to hear the contact names read out loud.
  • Low vision users benefit from extra large characters and can choose between various color schemes such as white on black or black on white display.
  • For emergencies, the phone has a dedicated SOS button on its back.
  • Easy to navigate menus with large and highly tactile buttons. The control buttons are different colors and shapes so that the user always presses the correct button.
  • Speech interface guides the user while using the phone. It speaks everything that is on the screen, speaks the keys that are pressed and even prompts the user to perform certain functions. Caller ID, amount of remaining battery power, contacts, list of missed calls and text messages are read out loud by Lucia. The user can select between more than 10 different voices.
  • Lucia is 100 percent accessible to individuals who are blind. Its features make it the perfect phone for individuals who are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing or seniors.
  • To assist people who are hard of hearing, the phone has a “sound boost” function that provides additional volume during phine calls with the press of a button. Lucia has premium speakers to maximize clarity and sound experience.

 

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

 

Albert Ruel                   or                        Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                               1-877-304-0968,513

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                GTTProgram@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: www.ccbnational.net

 

 

 

GTT Beginners National Conference Call Summary Notes, Navigating Websites Using Screen Readers with a PC, May 28, 2019

GTT Beginners National Conference Call.

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

May 28, 2019

 

Find the Podcast of this event at the link below:

01 GTT Beginners National Conference Call, Navigating Websites Using Screen Readers with a PC, May 28, 2019:

 

Navigating Websites Using Screen Readers with a PC

 

Kim Kilpatrick, Brian Bibeault and Albert Ruel demonstrated the use of Navigation Quick Keys and other strategies for effectively and efficiently accessing information from the websites we visit using the screen readers available in the Windows environment.

 

The pages visited were the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Blog and CELA Library pages.

 

Navigation Quick Keys for JAWS

 

NVDA command key quick reference

 

Narrator keyboard commands and touch gestures

 

For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:

 

Albert Ruel                   or                       Kim Kilpatrick

1-877-304-0968,550                               1-877-304-0968,513

albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                GTTProgram@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: www.ccbnational.net

 

 

 

GTT Beginners National Conference Call Summary Notes, Using the Web on iOS with Voiceover, June 25, 2019

GTT Beginners National Conference Call.

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

 

June 25, 2019

 

Theme: Using the Web on iOS with Voiceover

 

On June 25, 2019 Albert Ruel demonstrated the use of the Rotor with Voice Over for effectively and efficiently accessing information from websites using iOS devices.  A discussion of the Reader View available in the Safari Browser was also undertaken with a view to accessing just the text of articles rather than pages of advertising, links and other navigation controls.

Web Browsing using the Rotor with Safari:

  • Using both touch gestures on the iOS screen and the Logitech Bluetooth keyboard K380.
  • Voice Over and Safari on iOS, iPod iPad and iPhone with the latest version of iOS 12.
  • The rotor was used when web browsing to access Headings, Links, Form Fields, Edit Options, Text Selection, Characters, Words, Lines, Buttons and Tables.
  • To turn the Rotor to the above movement units move two fingers across the screen in opposite directions, or use the thumb and forefinger to mimic the turning of a knob. To do this on a Bluetooth keyboard press both the left and up arrow buttons to turn the Rotor to the left and use the right and up arrow buttons to move it to the right.
  • Once a movement unit is selected, a one-finger flick up will move to the previous item and a one-finger flick down will move to the next item. To do that with a Bluetooth keyboard press the up and down arrow buttons respectively.

 

Reader View Button in the Safari Browser:

  • The Reader View button is located at the very top of Safari on the left-hand side of the page and looks like a button with squiggly lines.

To access it perform a four-finger single tap near the top of the screen to bring focus to the top, or hold down the Control key and press the up arrow button.

  • To activate and de-activate the Reader View button one-finger double tap it, or press the up and down arrow buttons together. When the Reader View button is activated it strips out most links, advertisements and other junk from a webpage.
  • Voice Over will announce that Reader View is available once a web page is loaded.
  • Reader View in Safari can be activated when accessing any website where it is available, or it can be programmed to automatically activate when all web pages are accessed, or just specific websites. To access the Automatic Reader View Menu, from the Reader View button perform a one-finger swipe up or press the up arrow, then one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons to activate the Menu.  Use a one-finger swipe to the right or the right arrow button to examine the menu and one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons together to activate your desired option.
  • Low vision configuration is available once Reader View is activated by one-finger double tapping or pressing the up and down arrow buttons on the keyboard on the Reader Appearance Options button to the right of the Address Bar. Swipe to the right or use the right arrow button to examine the list of options and one-finger double tap or press the up and down arrow buttons together to select desired items.

 

General Touch Screen Gestures:

 

  • On all web pages, a one-finger swipe to the right, or pressing the Write arrow button will move focus to the next item, and a swipe to the left, or pressing the left arrow button will move to the previous item.
  • To have Voice Over read from the top of the page perform a two-finger swipe up, or hold down the VO key and press the letter A. To have Voice Over read from the current position perform a two-finger swipe down or hold down the VO key and press the letter B.
  • To pause and resume Voice Over’s reading of any document, email or web page perform a 2-finger single tap, or press and release the Control key. Both of the above gestures will toggle the reading functions on and off.
  • Access Heading Navigation by turning to it with the Rotor, or holding down the VO key on a Bluetooth keyboard and typing the letter Q. VO + the letter Q will toggle it off again.
  • Navigating by headings is the most important means of examining a web page, and once the desired section is found swiping to the right or pressing the right arrow buttons will move focus to the next item. Using Heading Navigation will avoid much of the junk at the top of web pages.
  • Headings are like the chapter markers in a book. They are organized in a hierarchical numbering system with Level 1 Headings above Level 2 and so on.  With VO + Q turned on pressing numbers 1 through 6 will move to those respective Level Headings.
  • Every time a Google search is conducted in Safari there should be a Level 1 Heading titled: Search Results. Turn the Rotor to Headings then use a one-finger swipe down or press the down arrow button to locate the Search Results area, and eventually each of the results listed on the page.
  • forefinger double tap on the iPhone screen will turn on keyboard help, this will enable you to test out key commands on the keyboard or swipes on the phone to hear descriptions of what that action will do when outside of keyboard help.
  • To access the Status Bar at the top of the screen in any iOS device using a Bluetooth Keyboard hold down the Control key and the CapsLock key plus the letter M, then perform the same key command again to get out of the status bar.

 

Quick Navigation Keys:

  • to turn quick navigation keys on/off use left and right arrow Keys at the same time.
  • when typing into an edit field quick navigation keys are off.
  • Having quick navigation keys On enables one to use the Rotor to access headings, Characters, Words, Lines and many other navigation elements.
  • when the focus is on the address bar and it is clicked on you can assume that the text is selected and if using quick navigation it will turn off automatically so you can begin to type. Typing will replace the highlighted text.
  • The Rotor elements called Vertical Navigation and Rows will allow you to move up and down columns when in a table rather than swiping right and left to go horizontally across the screen then wrapping around to the next line or row. This is useful on bank statements as an example.

 

 

Additional Resources:

AppleVis is the main place to find out information regarding voiceover iOS apps on all 4 of the iOS family devices. 

 

 

Bluetooth Keyboard Commands are listed here:

 

Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard K380:

 

 

GTT National Conference Call Overview

  • GTT National Conference Call is a monthly discussion group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT National Conference Calls promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to present and discuss new and emerging assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, along with questions and answers about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend 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 an email distribution list where assistive technology questions are provided by participants. You may also subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.GTTProgram.Blog/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

GTT-TechEase Regina Summary Notes, Uber, Transit Stop Announcements, Food Delivery, May 25, 2019

Tech-Ease/ Get Together with Technology

Regina Drop-In Meeting

Summary Notes

May 25, 2019

 

Sponsored by Vision Impaired Resource Network (VIRN),

Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB)

And the

Regina Public Library

 

Assistive Technology Peer Support by and for people who are blind/low vision

 

Uber:

  • Uber and guide dog users – It is in the bylaws for city of Regina and City of Saskatoon that the Uber/cab company can be charged under bylaws and either the driver or the company can be charged if a handler is denied access due to their guide dog. The Bylaws are to protect guide dog users.
  • If the driver says they have allergies they have to have a letter on file with dispatch and they have to wait with you until new cab comes to complete your trip
  • Most handlers find it is easier to declare your guide dog ahead of time to avoid denied trips or delays while another cab/Uber is summoned
  • Many blind and partially sighted people choose to tell the cab company or Uber driver about their needs ahead of time so they get the best service. i.e. “I am legally blind so the cab driver will have to come inside to get me or lead me to my door when he takes me home”.
  • Capital Cabs has proven to be the best in Regina for helping people with all disabilities

Steps to access an Uber or Lyft

  • Download the app and put in your personal info including credit card info
  • Lyft takes $1 from credit card when it is first added to verify the card, it is not refunded
  • Once you have the app you type in where you want to go and the app gives you an estimate of both the amount you will pay and the time it will take to get the driver to you
  • There are different levels of Uber, one for individuals, one for groups (XL), one for special needs (Assist) and one for elite (Black) we do not have black or the one for special needs in Regina yet
  • We discussed safety features like you and/or the driver changing screen colour on their mobile and holding it up so you know you are going to the right car, adding notes to the driver notifying them of your needs, the app showing drivers face and make/model of car so you know you are choosing the right car
  • There is a “follow me” option in the Uber app that you can send to a friend so they can track your progress and know you got home safely
  • The apps take both PayPal & credit card
  • Driver use their own vehicles, they are not company cars
  • There is no conflict of interest policies so drivers can drive for many companies (Lyft in day, Uber at night) discussed this as possibly a safety hazard as drivers could become fatigued
  • You can rate the experience and the driver upon the completion of your trip, so you can also only choose to accept rides from 5 star drivers
  • Most handlers choose not to allow their guide dogs on the seats of any transportation (except their own) out of respect for the owner/company who may have to clean the vehicle after

 

Audibles on transit:

  • We encourage people to report transit issues, because if people aren’t reporting the city isn’t made aware and change/repairs won’t happen
  • If you have enough sight to tell on the buses the GPS panel is black if its not working and lit up if it is
  • Ask the driver to turn the audible on when your get on, If it isn’t working the bus is supposed to be put out of service so you can say you will call to have that done if its off, oftentimes if a driver is choosing to keep it off they will turn it on when you mention this

 

Skip the Dishes/UberEats

  • Discussed the process for ordering, choose a restaurant, choose your food, add them to your order, confirm your order, click checkout and wait for driver to arrive, app shows driver’s progress
  • You can pay with credit card or cash if it’s under $50 but the driver will not have change so you have to exact amount
  • When calculating at checkout the tip is included for in the price, the amount you add on is a tip for the driver not the restaurant

 

Parcel Pal/Postmates:

  • A service like Skip the Dishes or UberEats but they bring you things from stores or take things to places for you (mail to the post office, drycleaning to cleaners, etc.)
  • We have Parcel Pal in some parts Canada
  • They have Postmates in the USA but it is coming to Canada eventually

 

Luggage Dongle:

  • Tile is the brand
  • You can send a tone to it from your smartphone you can add it to anything you want, keys, luggage, etc. You turn off the noise from the phone once you have located the item you have attached the Tile to
  • You can tap on the tile and it can send a signal to your phone from it so you can find your phone with it as well
  • $44 each with taxes etc. at London Drugs
  • Radius is listed at 300 feet
  • You can have multiple Tiles hooked up to one app
  • They come in 2 levels, the other one is cheaper than $44 but the cheaper one is not that loud and the area is not as big
  • They only come in black
  • There is a premium app feature that notifies you when you get too far from your phone

 

VIRN and the future of GTT/Tech Ease:

  • Discussed option to hold digital meetings through zoom, they are already doing in Manitoba
  • Also discussed idea of doing YouTube during or after Tech Ease meetings

 

Topics for next time:

Recap of the year

 

Connect with us:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GTTTechEaseRegina/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/techeasesk

Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk) | Twitter

twitter.com

The latest Tweets from Tech-Ease YQR YXE (@techeasesk). Are you Visually impaired, Related to someone visually impaired, or an educator of someone visually impaired …

 

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Microsoft Soundscape, September 19, 2019

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

September 19, 2019

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB Foundation

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, September 19 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

Theme: Microsoft Soundscape

 

GTT Toronto Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:

 

Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

 

Jason opened the meeting by welcoming the two guest speakers from Microsoft, who joined via Zoom. They talked about Microsoft Soundscape.

Amos Miller introduced himself. He started off in the UK, and introduced Melanie.

Melanie Maxwell said that they are both calling in from Redmond Washington, and are both part of the Soundscape team. Amos explained that the team is spread out over the U.S. and the UK.

Amos began by describing how Soundscape differs from other GPS aps. We wanted to explore how we could use technology to enrich peoples’ awareness of their surroundings. How could we have a greater understanding of what’s around us, and where it is in relation to where we are, to aid with orientation, way-finding, and our experience out doors. The way we achieve that is through the use of 3D audio, or spatial audio. This means,  sound that you can hear, that sounds like it’s in space around you, not between your ears. You can imagine that if you were standing on a street corner, and there was a Starbucks across the road and to the right in front of you, you would hear the word, “Starbucks,” coming from that direction. Instead of Soundscape telling you there’s a Starbucks 200 metres in front of you and to the right, it will just say the word, “Starbucks,” and you will hear that it’s 200 metres in front of you and to the right, just from the nature of the way you hear it through the headphones. For the best experience, it does require stereo headphones, and we can have a long conversation about that; that’s definitely unusual, especially for our community when you’re out doors, and trying to hear the ambient sounds as well. There are very good solutions for that, so there is a lot of reasons why Soundscape persisted to advance the thinking and the experience. When you walk down the street, you will hear those call-outs in 3D around you, giving you that P.O.I. information. We’ll also talk about how you can navigate to your destination using what Soundscape refers to as the audio beacon.

Before I dive into that though, I’ll give some background to the project. I’m the Product Manager for Soundscape in Microsoft Research in Redmond. This work started out 4 or 5 years ago when I was still in the UK. I was involved with the local guide dog organization there, and working with them to try and figure out how technology can integrate into our own independence and mobility when we’re out and about, but in a way that enhances that experience. Some people from Microsoft started working with mobility instructors, and guide dog and cane users. We explored a range of ideas long before we figured out how to solve the problem. We landed on this notion of how important it is to enhance the awareness, but not tell the person what to do in that space. A lot of what orientation and mobility trainers will do with us is to work on a specific route, but especially how to perceive the environment, how we read the cues that the environment is giving us from a sound perspective, echo location, traffic noise, direction of the wind, the tactile feeling of the ground: all of the signals we can get from the environment in order to orient, and make good navigational decisions. The work that we did with Guide Dogs in the early days of Soundscape was really to see how we can build on that. The idea of sound playing a big role in the perception of the space, was really how this idea evolved. Soundscape as an ap, is the first incarnation of that idea.

The ap is free, and available from the Ap Store. It does rely on map data, and so it does need to be able to access that data. For the most part, it will download the necessary data from the environment that you’re in, and from that point forward it’s not using data. So it’s not constantly drawing on your data plan, but it does require one. We’ve tried to optimize it so that the data usage is minimal, and in certain situations, it will also work in areas where there is no data.

Bose frames are a very good way to get the stereo effect. Bone conducting headphones are another good way. EarPods or standard headphones will work, but they will block your ears to ambient sound. Putting it in one ear to keep the other ear free won’t be effective because you won’t get the signature 3D effect. Amos said that he personally likes EarPods because of their sound quality, and it’s possible to insert them lightly into the ear and still have ambient sound. Some sports headphones are a good solution too, Plantronics for example. This type of headphone rests around the back of your neck, and clips over the ear. They sit in front of the ear canal without blocking it. They’re used commonly by runners and cyclists.

Melanie then took over. She began by running through some of the core features. The demo she provides will be limited because it can’t be presented in proper 3D audio.

“I’m going to walk us through the home screen first. Our goal with anything we design is that we want it to be really simple to use, and accessible. One thing you’ll notice is that we don’t have a lot on the home screen. I’m going to walk us through the home screen. The, set audio beacon, is one of the largest buttons on the screen. There are also buttons for, my location, nearby markers, around me, and, ahead of me. There are two parts of Soundscape; there are automatic components, where you can put your phone in your pocket and hear things, and there’s an active component, which are the buttons on the home screen. For example, if you want to know more about your current location, you can tap the, your location, button. Tapping on it gives you information about nearby intersections, what direction you’re facing, and then what intersection is closest to you. If you’re inside, you might here that you’re inside. The callout will change depending on where you are. When your phone is in your pocket and you’re moving, Soundscape relies on directionality of movement from the phone itself.

Another callout we have is, what’s around me. You’ll get location names and distances of places around where you are. You can change a setting between metric and imperial. You have choices for the Soundscape voice as well, including a French Canadian voice. Soundscape uses GPS, so it will only work inside buildings if map data is available. Either way, accuracy inside a building isn’t going to be as good. We have had users make audio beacons inside buildings. This can work reasonably well in a very large building, but we’re not at a place of very good accuracy in buildings.

There are two ways of finding a building. One way is to create your own marker. This relies on the accuracy of GPS. We recommend that if you want to create a marker, walk around the location a bit, as in, walk back and forth in front of it, to allow the phone to get as pinpointed a location as possible. This should get your marker accuracy to within a few metres. You won’t get 1 metre accuracy. Don’t try to create the marker when you exit a building, because the phone won’t be pinpointed enough yet with GPS.

There is a more complicated way as well. Soundscape uses Open Street Maps, which is an open-source ap that anyone can update. A lot of the buildings in Open Street Maps have their entrances marked. If Soundscape can find a building entrance on Open Street Maps, it will default to using that. Adding something to Open Street Maps isn’t an accessible process unfortunately, because it’s visual map-based. If there’s a building entrance that’s particularly important to you, you could try to have someone go into Open Street Maps and enter it for you, and it will show up in Soundscape. Open Street Maps update themselves once per week, but it might take two weeks for it to show up in Soundscape. Markers that you create yourself with Soundscape show up immediately.

To create a marker at your current location, from the home screen, find the, mark current location, button, located near the top of the screen. Double tap that. If you start in a tutorial screen, you can dismiss it. A name will be automatically assigned, but you can edit it. Pressing done, means the marker will exist as a custom P.O.I. There’s another whole page of controls where you can edit and manipulate your markers.

This moves us on to a unique feature of Soundscape, beacons. Beacons are one way of navigating to a specific place. Instead of giving you step by step instructions for you to follow in order to find your destination, Soundscape creates a sound that emanates from the destination you’ve set, and you navigate from that. This is done by using a marker, and turning it into a beacon, then activating it.

Start by double tapping on the button on the home screen called, set audio beacon. On the next page, you have a few options. You can set an audio beacon on a marker you’ve already created, or you can enter an address that you want to find. You can also browse nearby places and choose one to place a beacon on. You can also filter nearby places by category, restaurants etc.

 

To set a beacon on an existing marker, from this page, double tap on the, browse your markers, button. Here, you can browse your existing markers. Double tapping on a marker will set it as a beacon.”

Jason added that he and Chris Chamberlin are producing a tech podcast, and one of their recent episodes was on Soundscape. In it, they do a stereo demonstration of setting and following a beacon. Listening to this episode with headphones will give a very accurate experience of using Soundscape.

Amos then opened it up for questions. One member reported that some of the stores Soundscape announced for her in real time, were closed. The response was that the ap is getting its data from Open Street Map, so if their data isn’t up-to-date, Soundscape won’t be getting accurate information. Amos made the point that there will always be a question mark between you and the technology. “In Soundscape, we try to stay on the right side of not pretending that we can do more than what we think we can. We’ll never give you an impression of greater accuracy than what we can actually give you with the technology. A great example of that is, if you’re navigating to somewhere and you get close, Soundscape will tell you you’re close, then turn off the beacon, leaving the specific locating of an entrance to you. There will always be cases where there’s a dissonance between the technology and your experience. We give you all the information we can, but you’ll always have to make sense of it based on your own senses. We had an early incarnation of the ap that tried to follow a road. Sometimes the data would be wrong, but testers would follow the beacon out into the middle of an intersection, even though all of their awareness of their surroundings tells them it’s not a good idea. All GPS aps will tell you to use your best judgment, and then they’ll give you instructions that are pretty difficult to ignore. We’ve always been very careful in the design of Soundscape, not to give the impression that it knows better than you about the space you’re in.”

A member asked whether they are considering adding functionality that would allow Soundscape users to update information in Open Street Map, using a Soundscape interface.

Melanie replied, “That isn’t something that’s on our immediate road map, but it is something we’ve discussed. There is a, send feedback, button in Soundscape where we welcome information. We can’t necessarily respond to every report by updating Open Street Maps, but we definitely do add our own updates routinely, so it’s worth reporting this way if you want to. Open Street Map is open source with a strong community, and we’ve found that if we flag a particular area as being poorly represented, the community will often step up to fill in the gaps. It may be useful for the visually impaired community in Toronto, to make contact with the Open Street Map community in Toronto to see if the two groups could work together.

Another member said that she finds it hard to operate the phone and work her dog. Is there another way to interface with the ap?

Amos responded that most of the information you need will be announced even with your phone locked and in your pocket. If you have the kind of headphones that have play/pause and fast-forward/rewind buttons on them, the play and pause button has a few functions. One press will mute or unmute Soundscape. A double press of that button will activate the, where am I, feature, and a triple press will repeat the last call-out. Bose Frames, Aftershocks and EarPods all have this functionality, and have good sound. We have worked hard for as much of a hands/free experience as possible. It’s a background or ambient experience for some users. Some people keep it on in the background while riding the bus and checking email. It’s a companion that you should be able to get used to without having to give it a lot of attention. Work on ignoring Soundscape

Soundscape does not work on Android phones. Jason and another member contributed that functionality on Android is important, because accessibility should mean being available on as many devices as possible. A member contributed that AMI research has shown that Android use among young people in the visually impaired community is higher, and rising. In general, iPhone use outstrips Android use in the visually impaired community in North America, but that’s definitely not true in other parts of the world.

Another member asked if there’s any consideration of using voice commands to run Soundscape. Amos replied that there are. IOS provides some even easier ways to do that now, with Siri shortcuts and so on. There are two reasons why we haven’t really got there. The first is that when you’re out doors in noisy environments, that’s not going to work so well, especially if your microphone isn’t quite where it needs to be, which can lead to frustration. Secondly, the direction of trying to minimize your need to even give Soundscape commands, is the goal as we try to optimize. There are certain situations, such as choosing a beacon, which is a handful when you’re on the go, and voice commands could simplify that. We look a lot at the telemetry of which buttons are being pressed and so on. When people are on the go largely, you don’t really need most of them. You don’t really need to pull the phone out and press buttons, especially with the headset buttons, but we do look at voice commands. It’s always good to hear people’s experiences and preferences in that regard.

A member asked if the ap will work with IOS13? Amos replied that it will, but be warned … There are a lot of warnings out there about IOS13 having a lot of its own accessibility issues. The recommendation is to wait a few days till IOS13.1 comes out.

A member said that she uses Bluetooth hearing aids, and that she was very impressed with how well Soundscape functioned with them.

Amos said, “We are both delighted to hear, we’re both smiling here.”

A member said he wasn’t clear how close or far you could be to a destination to use Soundscape, as it doesn’t give turn-by-turn directions. Should we be using it in conjunction with another ap?

Melanie replied that they have received similar feedback in the past. The current recommendation is that Soundscape can be used alongside other navigation tools. If you’re in a location that you’re not familiar with and you want a lot of detail about how to get there, Google Maps might provide really great turn-by-turn directions. You might then also use Soundscape to help you understand what’s around you as you move from point A to point B. When you’re in a space you feel more familiar with, you might know the general layout but you don’t know exactly where the building is. In that case you might set a beacon on the building and start making the necessary turns.

Amos added that you can do long walks with Soundscape, but that it’s really optimal around 400 to 150 metres. It’s often very good when you go somewhere using Google Maps and it tells you you’ve arrived, but you still don’t know where the building is. In that case, Soundscape can be very helpful. We do get the question of adding turn-by-turn directions to Soundscape, and we’re not ignoring that.

For the past year, we started to explore uses of Soundscape outside the area of city navigation and mobility. We started to explore, for example, the idea of using Soundscape for kayaking. You can use a beacon to keep oriented on a lake; you can hear where the shore is, or where you took off from. We’ve played around with trails and recreational experiences. We’re having a lot of interest and traction on that front. Personally, I think that the experiences people get in recreation are mind blowing. They’re just wonderful because of the level of independence it gives you. So if any of you are so inclined, I highly recommend for you to try it. We are doing some work with the local adaptive sports organization. We’ve set up a trial that enables them to curate a route which would then surface on Soundscape. They’re going to run their first adaptive sports kayaking program next week with Soundscape as a test. It’s something that’s different, and that we felt was very rewarding for participants.

A member contributed that the active tandem cycling and sailing groups in Toronto might want to connect with Amos.

A member asked what Microsoft is working on for the future of Soundscape.

Amos replied that the recreational aspect is something they’re really excited about, and also the Bose Frames. We have talked about a hands-free experience, and sensors built into the device that track your head movement, enabling us to improve the audio experience. Amos invited Jason, who has had the opportunity to try this type of Bose Frames, to describe the experience.

Jason explained that the newest Bose Frames will have a gyro/accelerometer in them. What it will allow you to do, is set a beacon in Soundscape, then locate it just by turning your head, and it’s really quite cool.

Amos added that it has some very interesting applications for what Soundscape can offer.

Jason asked how people can give feedback.

Amos answered that they can email soundscapefeed@microsoft.com and that comes to our team. There is also a feedback button in the ap itself.

Amos and Melanie signed off.

Jason then went through a few points.

All of the meeting notes are now up on the GTT website. He then demonstrated something that has been added to the website. Do not try this with Internet Explorer, you must use a modern browser. One of the links at the top of the page is for meeting notes. Jason opened the notes for May, 2019. Arrowing down from the main heading, you’ll come to a line that says, listen to this article, with a play button. This is a new feature, that will read you the article in the new Amazon Newscaster voice. If you would prefer a voice other than Jaws, or if you’re a large print user, this is an option. Jason did a demo of the high-quality voice. Any of the meeting notes you call up, will offer this option.

IOS13 was released today. If you have an iPhone6S or better, you  can run it. It’s probably a good idea to hold off on installing it. IOS13.1 should be out in 4 days or so. They released IOS13 a bit before it was ready, in order to align with the new iPhone release. IOS13 offers a lot of cool things. One of the coolest is that you can change all of your VoiceOver gestures. An example of why you might want to do this is, there are people who have a really hard time with the rotor gesture. You could change that to a different gesture. Also, if you have anything newer than an iPhone 8, you can turn the VoiceOver sounds into vibrations. There are several vibration patterns to choose from. We’re hoping to have a presentation on IOS13 next month.

Jason also announced a new tech podcast that he and Chris Chamberlin are doing. It’s through the CNIB Podcast Network, and it’s called the CNIB Smartlife Tech cast. It’s on most popular podcast platforms.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, October 17, 2019 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto 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.Blog/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

 

 

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, May 13, 2019

Summary Notes
GTT Edmonton Meeting May 13, 2019

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held May 13 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.
12 people attended.
Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

May Topic – Independent Living Low Tech Aids
Low Tech Aids Demo
Stephannie Leach, Independent Living Skills Specialist at Vision Loss Rehab Alberta (a Division of CNIB), demonstrated some inexpensive low tech aids and free apps that can be used in the home to promote independent living. These devices included:
• Color Reader is a hand-held device that can be placed near an object such as an item of clothing and it will speak its color.
• Level Indicator: Place it on the edge of a cup, pour in liquid and it will beep when the cup is full.
• Talking Kitchen Scale to weigh small items and ingredients.
• Talking Measuring Cup: It announces the amount of liquid you pour into the cup. Buttons to select water, oil, or milk. 1 Liter capacity. Detaches from its base for washing.
• Pen Friend is a talking label device. IT comes with 250 labels that can be attached to items such as clothing, containers, file folders, CDs, whatever you wish. Speak a description of the item to the Pen Friend and the next time you touch the label with the Pen Friend it will speak back what you said. Clothes washing does not damage the label. Pen Friend can also play MP3 files. It also comes with magnets. Place a talking label on a magnet and it can then be reused on items such as canned food.
• Talking Bathroom Scale with a setting for pounds or kilograms.
• Reminder Rosie is a handheld device that you can talk to. You can ask it the time, tell it to remind you about appointments or things to do, all just with your voice and no computer.
• Talking watches and clocks.
• Seeing AI App for iPhone: This is a free app from Microsoft that you can download from the app store. It helps with many tasks including speaking colors, reading out loud short text such as package labels and envelopes, reads package bar codes, reads out loud longer paper documents, identifies Canadian, U.S., UK currency notes, identifies faces, and more.

CNIB STEP Program and Retail Store
The above items can be subsidized through the CNIB STEP program for Alberta CNIB clients. Contact your local Edmonton CNIB office at 780.488.4871 to learn more or visit the office at #600, 11150 Jasper Avenue. CNIB also has a retail store at this address where the above items can be viewed and purchased.

Home Visit by Stephannie Leach
CNIB clients can also come into the Edmonton office to see these devices at the CNIB store or they can call to book an appointment with Stephannie to come to their home to help them with their independent living skills. You may also contact Stephannie by email at Stephannie.Leach@vlrehab.ca

Next Meeting (Monday June 10, 2019 at 7pm)
• Carrie and Lyle will explain the accessibility settings built into Windows 10 that make it easier for low vision users to use Windows 10 computers.
• As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

Meeting Location and Logistics
• Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
• We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
• Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back.
• Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
• If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

GTT Edmonton Overview
• GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
• GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
• Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
• Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the more talent and experience we will have to help each other.
• There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:
http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/
To subscribe, activate the “Follow “link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

National GTT Email Support List
CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians. To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:
GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io
[End of Document]

GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, CELA Library Update, May 8, 2019

GTT National Conference Call.

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

 

Summary Notes

 

May  8, 2019

 

Theme: CELA Library Update

 

Michael Ciccone who is the executive director of CELA joined us to provide updates and answers to our questions.

Note: CELA is updating the web site continually so these notes may be out of date if you are reading them after May 2019.

On the main page of the CELA web site

www.celalibrary.ca

you will find the latest updates, service alerts, and what they are working on now.

Michael thanked everyone for their patience and acknowledges that this has not been the smooth transition they would have wished for.

CELA continues to work on improving the searching feature.  At the time of the call, searching resulted in receiving way too many search results.  Michael assured us that by May 9, 2019 the searching feature would be greatly improved.  This was the case when Kim Kilpatrick tested it on Thursday May 9, 2019.  Fewer results came up and it was more accurate.

Michael is aware that the searching needs to improve and will include key words and other ways of searching as well.

People can now download books in daisy zip format and for the most part direct to player.  Some people are still having trouble with direct to player.

Cd’s and single use braille are being sent out as well.

People have access now to all CELA and bookshare titles for the most part.  New titles are being added.

Recently, the focus has been on improving the search functionality which they have heard a lot of complaints about.  Michael brought in someone to assist with this.  In order to fix the search issues, they had to re-index the entire collection which did take time.  Search filters and advanced search still needs to be implemented.

After the search is working well, the focus will be on improving the patron account information.  Implementing the history, the setting of preferences, manage holds lists and update account information.

Another priority is getting the daisy text magazines back.  They must build additional programming to do this.

CELA is hoping to have most of the site up and running by the summer.  However, many of the issues they have encountered have been issues they did not foresee.

There is a known issue with getting direct to player books on the plextalk players.  This is an issue with the company who makes plextalk.  Plextalk has done nothing about it.  Both CNIB and optilec have stopped selling their players for this reason.  Nevertheless, they are hoping to get a resolution for this issue.

CELA has been contacting the patrons they know use plextalk and giving them some alternatives.

There was an issue with voiceover (the screen reader for IOS) that has been resolved.

Some of the bookshare titles that appeared are titles we should not have access to in Canada.  And, another bookshare issue where duplicate titles are appearing.  This means that the bookshare title might not be able to be downloaded successfully.  Bookshare is working on this from their side too.  Once everything is fixed, this will be a great and very accessible system.

This system will give CELA room to grow and allow them to add other library systems as they become available.

Bookshare is already working with other blindness libraries to improve their product and interaction.  Michael is hoping that we continue to be patient (that is so appreciated) and continue to reach out and let CELA know our thoughts and ideas.  The pace at which issues are being fixed has picked up over the past few weeks.

People expressed their appreciation for the update progress e-mails that we have been getting regularly.

Someone liked that the site is easier to use on smart phones.

All formats being in one record are appreciated.

The mobile site works well.

The New titles section will be restored when CELA is able to add the filter for new titles.  That should happen within the next few weeks.

Michael will update us on this and any other major updates as they happen.

Michael will also investigate answers for the questions below and provide answers as he gets them.

Kim and Albert will share to the GTT list and blog.

  1. Will the bookshare new titles be updated as well as the cela titles?
  2. Michael will check.  We may have an option for filtering the new titles lists.

Comment. the dialogue box that comes up after you press get it for the book does not always pop up.

Michael has made this a high priority.

Sometimes bookshare has several versions of a book.  If you cannot download one, try downloading another one.

 

Comment. When you download a book into direct to player, there is no book description on the victor stream.

Michael will investigate.

Comment. There are some issues with bookshare download saying service error.  Bookshare was contacted and this seems to be a humanware issue.  There should be a victor stream software update in June which will correct this.

Michael suggested trying to download the bookshare books through CELA and see if this works better.

Publishers sign agreements with bookshare and they either say they will let international patrons have their books or not.  About 90 percent of publishers in bookshare let us have them.  May 8 Marrakesh treaty has passed so there may be an increase in books available.

Comment. The notification on the iPhone that says go to your downloads section, does not always show up or is not read automatically.  Someone suggested that this is a voiceover and screen reader focus issue on all platforms.

Comment Someone is having a problem with downloads not showing up in the download section.  Some people have also seen books that are much older in their list of holds or books on their shelf.

Michael wondered if It might be that the history feature once implemented will fix this.  This seems to happen with direct to player books in dolphin reader.

Comment.  Someone had an issue where CELA kept logging them out even when they were signed in.

Michael said that sometimes it is a personal account issue and you might have to call CELA help to fix your actual account.

Comment. Some people ended up downloading the same book 3 or 4 times because they did not get the notification.  The new system is a bit of a learning curve as there is one extra step to download a book.  Suggestion. Indicate all the known problems on the CELA front page?

Michael said that now, it would take a long time to get through the list of issues.  It was further suggested that any major issues be put on the front page.

Suggestion. Make a download sound for when a book is downloading like NVDA does when it is downloading a software update.

Comment Several people have not been able to download books from CELA onto their stream direct to player.

Michael will check if this is a known issue.

There will be filters for recently added and publication date.  Michael is waiting to see if both can be added for filters.

Question. Will CELA be added as a service under voicedream reader.

Michael would like to be able to do this.

Question Will we also be able to search more easily in voicedream reader and in dolphin easy reader?  This will hopefully happen, but it is not top of the list.  Michael will follow up on the voicedream search and adding as a service for voicedream.  This would cut out some steps and would make it easier for people.

After the search, putting the magazines back is a very high priority.  The magazines are ingested into bookshare and then they come back to CELA.

Suggestion Occasionally when you remove books from dolphin, it does not clear from site.  Can you have a button on the new site to clear books?

Michael believes this is planned but will follow up.  The staff from CELA are wanting to make sure we can do more ourselves.

Question Is easy reader good on android?

Maybe not as straight forward as on IOS but still works.

Question. Can we search for just bookshare books or just cela books?  Could that be a filter? Will it be described as a bookshare book if you search for just direct to player?  Nice to be able to tell within the record if it is direct to player bookshare or CELA.

Michael will investigate this.  It was pointed out that Daisy text is pretty much always bookshare.  Daisy audio is cela.

It was pointed out that Using the victor stream to search for bookshare books will go away once bookshare is integrated with CELA.  Is that right?  Bookshare is willing to let us stay with bookshare accounts until all is sorted out.

Once everything is working, can we still do a search through our victor stream?  Michael will check if this is on the development list.

It was suggested that we change the filter searches from check boxes to radio buttons.

Hopefully, in future when searching you can just type in a name, term, author, and the search will be smart and provide the most relevant results.

Michael will investigate what will be included in our preferences.  Now, each new search clears all preferences.

Suggestion when using screen readers and Screen navigation, raise the level of the heading for the search.  Make the search heading level 1 and the filters heading level 2.  Michael will pass this along.  Suggestion Will cela be in touch with humanware for people to search just on the stream because people find this a very easy way to search.  Now every search on the stream is now very streamlined and similar.  Michael will check on this as well.

Suggestion. Build an API with CELA to allow people to search on the stream.  Will CELA work with humanware to build an API for searching CELA with the stream?  Michael will check into this.

A similar API or the same one could work to add CELA to voicedream reader.

There are people who do not use their computer at all but just search on the stream.  That is a very important service to have.

CELA is Encouraging people to not get hard CD’s but to change to direct to player and downloading onto your stream and onto your easy reader app.  CELA can also designate someone or add a designate to help you load your shelf.  If it is all legal, that is okay.  If CELA has a designate name, then CELA can contact the designate if there is any issue.

 

GTT National Conference Call Overview

  • GTT National Conference Call is a monthly discussion group of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT National Conference Calls promote a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to present and discuss new and emerging assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, along with questions and answers about assistive technology.
  • Participants are encouraged to attend 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 an email distribution list where assistive technology questions are provided by participants. You may also subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.GTTProgram.Blog/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

[End of Document]

 

GTT Toronto Summary Notes, CSUN Assistive Tech Conference Summary, March 21, 2019

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

March 21, 2019

 

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind

In Partnership with the CNIB Foundation

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Toronto Group was held on Thursday, March 21 at the CNIB Community Hub.

 

*Note: Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

Theme: 2019 CSUN Assistive Tech Conference Summary

 

GTT Toronto Meeting Summary Notes can be found at this link:

 

Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

Jason Fayre (Presenter)

 

Jason opened the meeting. He invited questions and input.

 

General Discussion:

A member raised the topic that AIRA is offering 3 months of free service. You’re eligible if you’ve never paid for AIRA before. The deal is on till March 29. You pay your first month at $29 U.S. and your next 3 months are free, 30 minutes per month. You don’t get glasses; you just use your phone. Another member described a device he had with him. Samsung has an in-house accessibility program. They offer a free, downloadable program that works with virtual reality glasses. The member passed the device around. It’s something wearable on your face, that holds your phone, and augments what the camera sees, in various ways. It’s a device for people with low vision. It’s a competitor to Iris Vision and New Eyes. It’s mainly for magnification and enhancement.

Another member raised a problem watching Netflix on his phone, and the controls get minimized Another member said she called Netflix, and they say it’s an iPhone issue. She recommends when the “show controls” button comes up, tap and hold. Netflix has an accessibility team; Twitter might be one way to find them. The first member said he now uses his Apple watch to control it. Someone else recommended that if you want to track down an accessibility person at a particular company, try finding them on LinkedIn.

Someone raised the question of what’s going on with CELA. When will their website be fixed. A member said that downloading and direct-to-player should now be working. They completely redesigned their site, and almost everything about how they operate. Things didn’t go as smoothly as they’d hope. Now, you can access CELA and Bookshare through the same site. It will really facilitate getting more titles from the U.S. soon.

Albert from GTT on the west coast contributed that someone from CELA will be on the national GTT call on May 8 to talk about the changes. The main site to find out about national GTT stuff is www.gttprogram.blog. Many things are posted there. The national calls are always on the second Wednesday of each month, 7:00 P.M. eastern.

A member raised a problem in Jaws 2018 and Windows10, where demands by the computer to install upgrades, were causing Jaws to crash in Outlook. He said the Microsoft accessibility help desk was able to downgrade him to a previous version of something, which helped. Jason added that using Windows10 pretty much requires you to keep your Jaws completely updated. The Office version number is also relevant to the equation. NVDA is getting very good, so if anyone’s frustrated, it’s always an option.

A member raised a problem with Windows8 where turning on the computer seems to load many windows, which he has to close before he can continue. Jason recommended the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk. You can also use Be My Eyes, and call Microsoft through that. This allows you to point your camera at the screen for easier diagnostics.

A member asked about files that say, “empty document,” when you open them. Another member said this is likely because the document is a scanned image, or if the protection on the document is too high. Another member added that, in Adobe, there’s a setting under “reading” that will help to read the entire document verses reading only one page at a time. Try going under the view menu, then accessibility, for more options. PDFs are always challenging. One might work, one might not. Another member added that Jaws now has built in character recognition for PDF documents. Within Jaws 2019, press insert, space bar, O, then D, it will allow you to read some PDF’s. Also, you can do this by navigating to the file name without opening it, open your applications menu, and arrow down to, recognize with Jaws OCR.

Another member raised the question of how to use Outlook to make appointments consulting other peoples’ calendars. Jason replied that it’s possible but not simple, maybe too in-depth for the meeting. Jason volunteered that he has a document he wrote in another context, which explains how to do it. He offered to send it out to the group.

A member asked about how to fax from a printer. Jason answered that you’d have to call the printer company and ask if there’s a way to do it directly from the computer.

A member asked if it’s possible to combine all your calendars into one. Jason answered that if you attach all your calendars to your phone calendar, your phone will show everything. Everything will show in a unified list in the phone calendar ap.

 

CSUN Summary:

Jason then began talking about his experience at CSUN. This is an enormous assistive technology conference that occurs in California each year. It’s put on by the University of Southern California North Ridge. It’s the largest conference of its kind anywhere. It includes any kind of assistive tech, not just blindness-related stuff. Microsoft and Google have a large presence there. Apple attends too, but keeps a low profile.

There’s a large exhibit hall where companies set up tables to display the latest things. The other part of the conference is presentations on specific topics. Apple did have a table this year, but they didn’t present.

This year there wasn’t one defining great thing, or extraordinary trend. There were, however, some interesting new things.

Hymns released a new Q-Braille XL, which is a note taker and display that you can hook up to your phone or PC.

Another interesting element related to the hotel which hosted the conference. This was a new venue for the event. AIRA had set up a free access point for the hotel, so that if you had an AIRA account, you could use it there and not have to pay for your minutes.

The hotel had what you might call a “smart elevator.” This works by having a key pad on the wall at each elevator bank outside the elevator. You type in the floor you want into the keypad, then you’re directed to a specific elevator car. This is a system designed to streamline elevator use in very busy buildings, and it had a feature that allowed you to turn on speech. Jason then played a brief audio recording demonstrating use of the elevator.

It really is obvious when you spend any time in the U.S., how effective the ADA legislation has been in making things more accessible. Jason described getting into a cab for a very long cab ride. Facing him in the back seat, was a little display showing you dynamic details of your trip. When the trip started, a voice says, “to turn on voice accessibility, press the button in the corner.” Then, you’d get a verbal update of your fair and location. This proves that the technology exists.

Another highlight is always the networking. Jason got to meet with representatives from Microsoft and Google.

One exciting piece of tech that was being displayed was a set of Bows glasses called the Bows Frames. Both AIRA and Microsoft are planning to incorporate them into GPS aps. There are highly directional speakers in the arms of the glasses, that sit right behind your ears. Bone conducting headphones can slightly block your hearing and echo location, and this effect is lessened when the sound is coming from behind your ears. Jason connected them via Bluetooth to his phone, then sent them around the room. The sound is directed toward your ears, and he demonstrated how local the sound is, so that someone sitting next to you doesn’t hear a lot of sound bleeding out. Flipping them upside-down turns them off. The true innovation is that they have an inertial measurement unit in them. This means they can track your head movement for GPS and navigational purposes. They go for $200. Like bone-conducting headphones, this is mainstream technology. The Bows store near the hotel hosting the conference was swamped with people wanting them. The sound quality for someone on the other end of the call through the glasses is quite good.

Unless you’re moving, GPS can’t tell which way you’re facing. AIRA plans to integrate with these because the accelerometer lets them know that immediately.

A member raised the topic of looking a bit strange walking down the street apparently talking to yourself, using the glasses. Jason said that it’s getting less and less unusual as more sighted people start using Bluetooth devices. He described the experience of talking to his headset, and being misunderstood by people around him, and having them offer help. He was told that it’s a universal gesture to tap your ear, as a non-verbal sign to others that your engaged in a different conversation.

Albert reported that most announcements at CSUN were tweaks of things we already know about. One of the exceptions this year, a new exciting device, is the Canute, out of Britain. It’s a 9-line, 40-cell braille display. It’s portable but beefy. It shines for anything you’d want to see multiple lines of braille for, such as music or math. They’re hoping to launch by the end of this year, and CNIB is very interested in working with them. The target price is around 1500 pounds, maybe $2600 Canadian. Jason had a prototype with him, and demonstrated it. There’s storage, and you could store many books. The refresh rate is line by line, so you could time it to be at the bottom line by the time the top line is replaced. Braille readers at the conference were very excited about it. They described it as going back to paper braille. This is not a replacement for a note taker, it’s firmly a braille reader. It’s a stand-alone device. They hope to integrate it with Duxbury. This would allow paperless proof reading.

There’s another device in development that is a tactile graphics display, called Graffiti. It will be appropriate for diagrams rather than braille.

Jason described several workshops on the blind Maker movement that interested him.

He spent a lot of time at the conference asking, “When will we get this in Canada?” Amazon and Google both released new things, but not in Canada yet. If there are things you know about that aren’t available in Canada, express to companies that you want them; it might help.

Amazon Prime has all kinds of audio described content, that we can’t get at. Representatives talk a good talk, but are unwilling to commit themselves about times or reasons.

One new thing is a DAISY player from a company out of China. Unfortunately, their representative didn’t speak very good English. Jason got a contact for the U.S. that he’ll follow up on.

Albert, who was at CSUN for the first time, was impressed that it wasn’t just a group of assistive tech companies. All of the big players in technology were there. This wouldn’t have been true 10 years ago. The reason is that mainstream companies are increasingly taking accessibility more seriously over all.

Jason also discussed a company called Native Instruments, that’s very well known in the field of digital music. They’ve recently built accessibility in. One of their music keyboards that you can connect to a PC, has an accessibility mode. When you turn it on, all of its features talk, and so you have easy access to all the functions.

It’s a good idea to get yourself on to the GTT national email list. It’s high traffic, but it’s very diverse and helpful. Google GTT support to find out how to get on it. You can put it in digest mode. There’s also a GTT WhatsAp group.

A member raised a question about Google Docs. A few people said that they’ve used it, and it’s doable, with a stiff learning curve.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, April 18, 2019 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto 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.Blog/

There is a form at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

 

 

GTT Beginners National Conference Call Summary Notes, NVDA Session One, January 22, 2019

GTT Beginners National Conference Call

The NVDA Screen Reader, Session One

 

Summary Notes

 

January 22, 2019

 

What is NVDA,

NVDA is a screen reader.

 

What does NVDA stand for.

Non visual desktop access.

 

Where do i get NVDA.

You can do a google search for NVDA free download or you can go to NVaccess.org and hit enter on the download which will take you to a donate page and if you hit the up arrow on the thirty dollar field you will see it change to not this time, now tab twice to download now.

Remember that NVDA relies on donations so if you can afford it send a donation to support and they also have a tutorial and language pack you can purchase.

 

During the install process you will get the option to select capslock as the NVDA modifier key; by default the insert key is the modifier key.

To get into the menu after completing the instal press the NVDA key and the letter n at the same time then down arrow  which will be preference, then right arrow to settings and hit enter.  You are now into a tree view of all your NVDA settings.

 

In the tree view the first item is general, use the tab key to go through the items for your general settings.

To move to different settings, ie from general to speech, use the down arrow.

 

 

Now lets talk a little about addons. An addon allows you to enhance NVDA.  You can get add ons at the following link,

https://addons.nvda-project.org/index.en.html

The first add on you should install is the windows 10 essential, after you have downloaded the add on just go to your download folder and install it as you would any program or app.

 

Now lets go back to the NVDA settings,

Below preferences

You will have tools and right arrow and up arrow to addons. There you will see all the addons you have installed and there you can uninstall or disable the ones you wish. We will expand on our next call.

 

Ok if you are not bored to death yet lets talk about shortcut keys, don’t run away just yet i will only give you a few and you can go to the user guide for specific ones.

To start NVDA, control+alt+N

To close NVDA, NVDA+Q

To learn what keys do what and learn your keyboard layout, NVDA+1.

To put NVDA in sleep mode, handy for applications with built inreaders, NVDA+S.

To wake up NVDA, NVDA+S twice.

To check battery level, NVDA+shift+B.

To check the time and date, NVDA+F12 will give you the time, press twice for the date.

 

I hope this was helpfull and join us February 26th for our NVDA beginners session part 2.

 

GTT WordPress Blog, Facebook and Twitter Feeds:

 

If you wish to follow the CCB-GTT Groups now starting to gather all over Canada, you can do so by registering your email address as follows.  Registering will have you receiving each announcement in your email inbox without any effort on your part.

 

Here’s how to register:

 

  1. Point your Web Browser to,

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  1. Find the link near the bottom of the Web Page called “Follow” and press the Enter Key.
  2. This will take you to a page where you may type in your email address.
  3. Tab to the “Sign Me Up” Button and Press the Space Bar or Enter Key. This will prompt the sending of a message to the email address provided.
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  5. Scroll through the message to find the Confirm Link and Press the Enter Key.
  6. This will take you to the GTT Program Blog and should display a message confirming that you have been successfully registered to receive ongoing Blog Posts.

 

Congratulations!  You’re part of the GTT Team.    Welcome aboard.

 

To stay in touch with the CCB and GTT on Twitter please follow the three Twitter Feeds listed below:

 

@GTTWest @GTTProgram @CCBNational

 

To see what GTT is up to across Canada, and to ask your burning questions you can become a member of the Facebook Group at:

 

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For more information please contact:

 

Albert Ruel on the West Coast:                   or          Kim Kilpatrick in Ottawa

Email: Albert.GTT@CCBNational.net                              Email: gttprogram@gmail.com

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