Reminder: GTT National Conference Call Agenda, WayAround Tags for Independent Living, August 14, 2019

Join us tonight for this interesting system of identifying stuff at home, work or play.

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

National Teleconference Call


Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind


You’re invited to the CCB’s August 14, 2019 GTT National conference call meeting:

Theme: WayAround Tags for Independence at home, work and play


Hour One:

WayAround® is the smart assistant that makes the world more natural and welcoming for people with vision loss.

Jessica Hipp, Chief Operating Officer, will present the many uses of this means of identifying items in your home, office and/or play area.  She will give you some ideas for getting better information, faster about everyday items in your home and office with WayAround. There are lots of ways you can use WayAround to make life with vision loss a little simpler, and sometimes the hardest part is deciding where to begin.

Hour Two:

If time allows we will discuss anything else technology related that participants may wish to raise, so bring your ideas, concerns and nuggets of brilliance to share with us.


You can participate by phone or internet from wherever you are:


Date: August 14, 2019

Time: 4:00–5:30 PM Pacific Time, 7:00-8:30 PM Eastern Time


The call-in info is:


Join the GTT National Conference Call Zoom Meeting from computer or smart phone:


One tap mobile, Toronto Local:

+16475580588,,9839595688# Canada


Toronto Local:

+1 647 558 0588

Meeting ID: 983 959 5688


For more information contact:

Kim Kilpatrick, GTT East Coordinator

1-877-304-0968 Ext 513


Albert Ruel, GTT West Coordinator

1-877-304-0968 Ext 550


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: URL: http://www.ccbnational.neta



CCB Tech Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Pen Friend, March 25, 2019

March 25 2019

Meet the Pen Friend


Hi there!  It’s Donna and thank you for allowing me to come into your inbox.

Let’s meet this product.


Meet the Pen Friend


If you have not already been introduced to this nifty little gadget then here is your opportunity.  Meet this very affordable and very useful little gadget.  It was developed by the RNIB of Britain.


Yes, it is shaped like a large pen and has a very nice speaker that enables you to hear what you are doing.  The Pen Friend enables you to label things using specially adapted tiny labels.  The instructions can be accessed on the card that it comes with; a really nifty way to produce instructions.  This is how it works.


  1. When you turn on your Pen Friend you hear some very delightful sounds and then you know that Pen Friend is ready to go to work.
  2. Place Pen Friend on one of those special labels that comes with your Pen Friend then press the record button.
  3. Give a short audio description of what you want the label to describe.
  4. Press a button to end the recording.
  5. Now you are ready to complete the task by taking your label and placing it on wherever you want it to be. Can, tin, box, file folder, whatever.
  6. You can go back to what you have just labeled and using your Pen Friend you can tell what you have just done.
  7. Turn on Pen Friend and voila! With the press of a button Pen Friend will tell you what your label says; what you have just recorded in your own voice.


This is indeed a neat little gadget and is extremely affordable.  You can find this gadget at such places as and  So go out there and make friends with the Pen Friend.


That’s it from me for this week.

If you would like to become a member of  my CCB Mysteries chapter you can do so for the price of $10 annually and in return you will receive unlimited access to either of the following libraries.

Recipes –

Audio mysteries for all ages –

Or you can subscribe to both for the price of $20 annually.

Now you  can subscribe to “‘Let’s Talk Tips”‘ which is my monthly resource for the most current and reliable

informational tips available in the areas of Technology, Nutrition, Media,

Business, and Advocacy.


To contact me, send me an email at and I’d be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.



GTT Toronto Meeting Notes All about accessible kitchen gadget. 

Here are the meeting notes from the last GTT Toronto meeting. If anyone else on the blog has other gadgets to share with where you got them, please email 

Here are the notes for our February 18 meeting. Thanks to Chris Malec for preparing these.

Jason Fayre opened the meeting with a welcome. A new announcement list has been set up to keep information flowing to members. The purpose of making a new list is to improve the usability of the list for those running it. Use will be seamless during the transition. Subscribing to the list will allow you to receive notes from each meeting. If you’re not on the list already, send an email to with the word subscribe in the subject line or message body. If you’re already on the list you’ve been moved over. will get you in touch with the group organizers.


The meetings should be driven by the members, so if there are topics you’d like to see covered, let us know. Bring ideas up now, or email them to the organizers.


Next month the topic will be iPhone aps, presented by Martin Courcelles, who’s been in the accessibility industry for a long time. In April we may cover screen magnification, but the floor is open for other ideas. Other ideas we’re considering are: how to get audio described content, Android aps. Meetings will run till June, we’ll take the summer off, then start again in September.


Jason then introduced Donna Jodhan to present on low tech gadgets for the kitchen. Jason added that he also brought an iGrill and a talking kitchen scale, which are higher tech gadgets.


Donna began by identifying as a website from the U.S. where many of these gadgets come from.

The first item is a doorbell. It has 6 different chimes: it’s $29 U.S. It’s something you can set up yourself as a blind person.

The second item is a popcorn popper. It’s for the microwave. It takes 2 minutes to pop the corn with no additives. Donna has used it and likes it. The cost is $27.25 U.S.

The next item is the beep egg indicator. You drop it into a pot of water with your eggs. There are 3 distinct melodies that play, one for each level of doneness. The soft boiled melody is Oh Suzanna, medium is Take Me Out to the Ball Game, and hard boild is Hail Hail the gang’s all here. You set it to your desired doneness. $19.95 U.S.

The next item is a cooker that plays the sound of a clucking chicken when your eggs are boild, but we’re not sure what level of doneness the clucking chicken indicates. $30.

The next item is an electric hotdog cooker. It holds between 6 to 10 hotdogs, and the sound of a barking dog plays when the dogs are done. $30.95.

The next item is talking measuring cups. It measures up to 3 cups, and takes 3 double A batteries. It measures dry or wet ingredients, and costs $59.95. There’s probably a cheaper equivalent in Toronto. The next item for fun, is cups with varying sounds that chime when the cup is lifted off its dedicated platform. The sound unit detaches for washing. Each cup is 12 ounces and a set is $11.95 U.S.

The next item is a salt shaker that makes the sound of a slot machine when picked up.

Next is a liquid level indicator. You place it on the side of a glass or container. One sound tells you when you’re getting close to the top, and another sound tells you when you’ve overflowed. This one isn’t new, $12.95 U.S.

There’s a talking coffee maker, the buttons are easy to find, and it talks to you during the set up process to instruct you. Donna didn’t know the make, but will get back to gtt with that information. The speech is very clear, and tells you when your coffee is ready, and guides you through the steps of making the coffee. The last item is a timer. Many of us have timers already. Donna’s favourite timer is available from the Braille Superstore in Vancouver by mail. It’s a small unit you can attach to your belt. The timer will count down by minutes then seconds, and there are 6 different alarm sounds to choose from.


Jason opened the floor for anyone to describe favourite kitchen gadgets. Ian raised the Hamilton Beech talking microwave, and many agreed it’s a great unit. Ian said it’s one of the best devices for blind people. Some said it’s no longer available, but a member said it’s available through Blind Mice Mart. A member who works with Regal said that they sell talking scales, and the popcorn popper Donna described. Donna said one of her favourites is the knife with a guide to help slice things.


Jason described his iGrill. It’s a thermometer that has a probe that sticks into the meet, there’s another attachment that sits outside the stove and communicates with your smart phone to tell you the temperature. The cheapest model is about $60, and the most expensive is maybe $90. You can set alarms for it to go off when your desired temperature is reached. It’s not low tech, but is extremely useful. He also brought a talking kitchen scale. This is useful for precise measuring of ingredients. This is available in the CNIB store. Many devices may not be designed for blind people, but are still very useful. He found a microwave in a mainstream store that has proper buttons rather than a touch pad. He described a one cup measure that had a very distinct tactile line inside for measuring smaller amounts. A few people said that the Forman Grill is very easy to use. It has a simple tactile temperature control, only one lever.


Donna asked about accessible stoves. Is there such a thing? Jason answered that he recently got a stove that’s usable, if not entirely accessible. It’s flat top, but there is some texture to help centre a pot. It requires help initially to mark the touch screen, but starting the stove automatically sets it at 350, which is helpful. Once the buttons are labelled it’s easy to use. It’s a Whirlpool.