GTT Toronto Summary Notes, iOS 13 Features and Issues, October 17, 2019

Summary Notes


GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

October 17, 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, October 17 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: iOS 13 Features and Issues


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


Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)


Ian opened the meeting. We usually start the meeting with a round table of questions and tips.

Ian said that he’s having trouble deleting a contact from his contact list. A member said that you have to have the contact open. Tap on the edit button, and then you’ll find the delete button at the bottom. A 4-finger single tap near the bottom of the screen will take your focus directly to the bottom of the content. A 4-finger single tap near the top will do the reverse. Accidentally doing a 4-finger double tap will bring up a help menu.

Albert with GTT in BC, said that they’ve been recording and editing their meetings, then posting them as podcasts. You can search for the Canadian Council of the Blind podcast in your favourite podcast ap.


Ian then introduced Dug Poirier, Assistive Technology Instructor and Information Services Coordinator at BALANCE for Blind Adults. He’s been teaching assistive tech for, a long time. He’ll run us through IOS13.

  • iOS13 was rushed out, and many, not only assistive tech users, had trouble at first. Now it’s relatively stable. Apple doesn’t necessarily mention the differences you’ll find as a Voiceover user. You often have to learn by using it. Ian raised the point that we should talk about trouble shooting, so we know what to do when something goes wrong or doesn’t work the way we expect.
  • One change in the mail ap is regarding threads. You can flick down to expand. It’s fairly intuitive to use.
  • One big change, that’s very welcome, is taking accessibility settings out of the general category, and putting it in its own category under settings There are a lot of tools in here.
  • There are some new Voiceover settings and haptics, which you have to enable. You can use haptics for system settings as well. You’ll find that under settings, accessibility, Voiceover, audio settings, sounds. You can choose sounds, haptics, or both. It makes the interface feel very new. It seems to offer faster feedback and functionality.
  • There are new rotor settings. Show context menu, replaces the old 3D touch menu. The 3D touch menu was an option to tap then tap and hold, which brought up other functions. 3D touch didn’t take off with ap developers, so was morphed into the context menu.
  • The vertical scroll bar appears when you’re in lists, for example a list of books. It’s down the right side. Every flick down moves down by 10%. It’s an excellent tool. It’s the same as the table index that’s found in the contacts list.
  • Any phone below a 6S won’t support IOS13, and you won’t be prompted to update.
  • You can now customize touch gestures. You can add or change what gestures do. Keyboard shortcuts, hand writing, and braille screen input can all be customized now. You can access it under Voiceover settings, then commands. It sounds more complicated than it is.
  • There’s a new slide-to-type feature. It seems daunting, but can actually work well if you spend time with it. It does take some getting used to. You can add a rotor setting to toggle it on or off. It’s a form of predictive typing. You start by placing your finger on the first letter of the word you want, and holding it there till you hear a sound. Then, slide your finger to the subsequent letters of the word. Using your finger position and predictive algorithm’s, the word will be filled in. If it comes up with the word you want part way through, lifting your finger will insert that word into your text. A member contributed that in auto complete settings, you can define two or 3 character shortcuts that will, if followed by the space bar, insert what ever text you’ve defined. For example, you could set up a two letter shortcut for your email address.
  • The, add punctuation group is another nice new feature. You can access it through, Voiceover, verbosity. It allows you to define which punctuation is spoken, which can be very helpful if you’re editing. You can create your own punctuation group setting.
  • Under Voiceover settings, is something new called, activities. This allows you to set parameters for specific aps, that is, how the phone functions or speaks to you depending on what ap you’re in. A member pointed out that the Applevis podcast has some really good examples of this.
  • A lot of stuff in the email ap has been changed with regard to Voiceover. Most of it is good. The delete button is more prominently placed, and in order to reply or do other things, you have to find the, more, button. You can now delete multiple emails and email folders all at once.
  • If you open a message with a lot of emails within it, as in, there’s been a lot of replies back and forth, you can open it, then flick left or right to move through individual messages within the thread, and delete particular ones if you want. Remember to close the message though, otherwise you could get confused about what view you’re in.
  • The best resource for learning is Applevis; Their site has great blogs and podcasts. There’s a cast called Double Tap, on AMI audio. can be helpful. Jeff Thomson at BlindAbilities has good content. A member said she’s part of a Facebook group called iPhone and iPad Aps for the Visually Impaired, that’s quite good.
  • Change can be tiring, but the best way to adjust is to make yourself use the new thing. Also remember that updates are about security as well, so refusing them can be risky. Apple is especially energetic at cutting off support to previous versions.
  • A member said she’s having trouble with dictating texts. If she uses Siri, and tries to add to what she’s already dictated, only the addition is shown in the body of the text. It’s intermittent. Others agreed they’ve seen this too. A member suggested a work-around where you create the message in the notes ap, then paste it into your text message.
  • A visual user said that she sometimes has a problem of her screen rotating 90 degrees if she moves while using her phone. Dug recommended locking this feature. You can do this from control centre. Locate the status bar, then swipe up with 3 fingers to open control centre. In there is an option to lock orientation.
  • A member asked how to find out what version of IOS they’re on. Dug said go to settings, general, then software updates.. If you tap on, about, it will show you what you’re running currently. Once you’ve upgraded, you can’t go back. If you haven’t upgraded from the initial version of 13, you should. 13.1.3 is the current version. Apple generally releases an update every month or so.
  • A member pointed out that resistance to change, is also a desire to cling to productivity. The truth is that an upgrade like this can cost you a week of optimal productivity.
  • A member raised the topic of Voice Controller. Dug said that it’s a huge feature worthy of its own session. It’s a way to make the phone activate gestures by voice, swipe left, swipe right ext. It’s meant particularly for people with limited hand mobility. It takes a lot of work up front.
  • A member raised the question of whether IOS13 drains your battery more quickly. Dug said he hasn’t noticed any difference. He commented that batteries do naturally run down, and that it’s recommended to fully drain your battery once a month or so in order to maximize its life. A new battery is around $90 installed. You need to take it somewhere to have it changed. There are cheaper solutions than going to an Apple store, but they come with risks of losing functionality.


Ian closed the meeting by thanking Dug, and by saying that if you have ideas for future meetings, or knowledge on something you’d like to present on, please get in touch.


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:


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




GTT Nat Con Call Summary Notes, iOS 13, the Good and the Bad, 2019Oct09

GTT National Conference Call.

An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes

October 9, 2019


Theme: Apple’s iOS 13 update, the good, the bad and the ugly.


On October 9, 2019 the GTT National Conference Call discussed the above topic with the help of the below presenters, which was followed by a number of spirited questions from the floor.  The presenters were asked to talk about 3 of the things they like and don’t like about the version being used on that date, namely iOS 13.1.2.  Since then additional updates have been released so depending on the date you read these Summary Notes your experience may be different.


To learn more about iOS 13 visit this Apple Website:


To access many fantastic iOS 13 AppleVis Podcasts follow this link:


Presenters: Michael Feir, Elmer Thiesen, Tom Dekker, Kim Kilpatrick, Brian Bibeault and David Green.


Please check out the presentation on the CCB Podcast below for more details.

10 GTT National Conference Call, iOS 13, the Good and the Bad, October 9, 2019


Michael Feir:

  • Michael expressed frustration over the hang-up bug, and suggested that in iOS 13.1.2 users can use triple click on the home button three times to turn off Voice Over, which always resolves the freeze being experienced.
  • To set the triple tap on the Home or Side buttons to Voice Over do the following: Go to Settings, Accessibility and select the Accessibility Shortcut to launch Voice Over.
  • Be careful not to accidently click the button five times in a row without sufficient pause or you can activate the SOS call to 911.
  • Custom Controls Can Be used to limit or expand the haptic feedback and sounds given off by iOS 13 devices. The user can also re-define existing gestures, and define undefined gestures to functions that are difficult to manage, like the turning of the Rotor dial.
  • The Reminders app is another area where iOS 13 has made great strides. It is far more customizable and configurable to the needs of the end user. It now boasts some project management features that make it really good to use.


Elmer Thiesen:

  • Elmer indicated that for him the ability to customize gestures is a really big deal, and the first one he changed was the Rotor gesture to use two fingers sliding across the screen left or right to turn it in those directions.
  • He also expressed that the Vertical Scroll Bar is a great addition to iOS 13. It allows the user to scroll pages of information far more easily and efficiently.
  • Elmer likes the ability to establish Activities with desired features like, having a specific voice read emails with no punctuation, and another voice work on word processing apps with all punctuation turned on. These can now be customized to the user’s preference.
  • One of the bugs Elmer has struggled with is that Siri would get lost in what she was asked to access and keep repeating the same irrelevant thing over and over again until he re-set the Network Settings. Apple Support assisted in getting this sorted out.


Tom Dekker:

  • Screen Recording is the thing Tom likes most about the upgrade to iOS 13. it never quite worked well before iOS 13, and now works very well with good quality sound.
  • Commands and the ability to customize them is another of Tom’s favourite things about iOS 13.
  • On Screen Braille keyboard is better than ever. He can now type more quickly and with more accuracy than before.
  • Tom thinks that a weird thing is the iPhone User Guide downloaded to the iOS Books app. It only reads the first line or two of each paragraph. It doesn’t track anything correctly. Older Guides work well, but not this one.


Kim Kilpatrick:

  • Kim agreed that the iOS 13 User Guide doesn’t work well.
  • As for the hang-up bug, her experience seems to be that it only happens when she uses the microphone button on the wired earbuds. She also indicated that this bug didn’t come up during the beta testing phase, which she has been on since the beginning.
  • Kim expressed that a great feature of iOS 13 is that Accessibility is not buried in General and that it has its own spot in Settings.
  • Kim has heard that Low Vision users are liking the Dark Mode offered in iOS 13.
  • She indicated that there are some good things added to Braille support that allows Voice Over to have more things read back to the user as they type, however a bug seems to have been introduced that creates a disconnect when back spacing to delete errors. Kim also agrees that Braille Screen Input has improved dramatically.
  • Voice Control is another item Kim appreciates about iOS 13. Although it isn’t a Voice Over specific feature, it never-the-less works well with it, and it will really help those with limited hand function to access even more functions of their iOS devices. Voice Over users must use earbuds when accessing Voice Controls otherwise the Voice Over speech will interfere. The strong point about using Voice Control when dictating in an edit field is that Voice Over will read back what is being dictated periodically. It functions more like Dragon Naturally Speaking in that regard. this should only be used in quiet places otherwise it makes many errors.
  • Kim told the group that in Activities you can also adjust punctuation for different apps and activities according to your personal preferences, the voice, rate and punctuation can all be set for different apps and tasks.


David Green:

  • David told the assembled that when inserting passwords and code numbers for voicemail iOS 13 seems to be far faster in echoing the touch screen presses, which leads to increased accuracy in typing those characters. This is especially noticeable in voicemail entry codes.
  • One bug David noticed is in the Native Mail app. When he tries to move from one account to another focus seems to go into Edit Mode instead of activating the new account. It will also do this in the Messages app sometimes.


  • David found that after the upgrade to iOS 13 the speaking voice was changed from his favourite American voice to a British one. The only way to fix this was to set the Location to America in order to get those voices back.
  • Slide to Type is one feature that David will have to practice a lot before it will become comfortable, if it ever does.
  • Many of the new features and functions of iOS 13 are not of interest to David, so he will likely give them a pass.


Brian Bibeault:

  • Brian wasn’t going to upgrade yet, however having forgotten to shut off his phone one evening he woke up to an upgraded iPhone. Since this event he has worked at trying to learn its new features and is getting comfortable with them. The first day was a nightmare, but he recommended that anyone intending to make the move go to AppleVis and listen to the many Thomas Domville podcasts about iOS 13. He provides a great set of tutorials and guides to the important features and upgrades.
  • One glitch Brian found is when using the Bluetooth Keyboard, the focus jumps all over the place unexpectedly.
  • Brian suggested that if one is going to use Voice Control, turn it off after using it, otherwise it’ll drive you nuts if you answer a phone call with it still turned on. It’ll keep repeating text not relevant to the conversation.
  • He found that his recent move to Bell Fib Cablevision has improved since iOS 13, whereas the app was not accessible with iOS 12.4.


Question Period:

Participants had a range of questions to ask the presenters, for which some found answers and some are yet to be resolved.  To access the remainder of the session please find the complete Podcast recording on the Canadian Council of the Blind Podcast channel.


For more information please contact your GTT Coordinators:


Albert Ruel                   or                               Kim Kilpatrick

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


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:



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:


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:


[End of Document]


CCB Tech Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Apps Round Up, August 5, 2019

August 5, 2019

Apps round up


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

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my apps roundup.



  1. Ebates Rakuten: Get Cash Back (iOS, Free)


Get Cash Back rewards at your favorite stores! Get unbeatable shopping deals and save with promo codes & coupons from Ebates.


Save money and sign up for a FREE account – it’s easy! Explore deals, shop at 2,500+ stores AND earn Cash Back when you buy. You’ll also get a $10 Welcome Bonus!


3 reasons you’ll love the Ebates app:


* Shop & save: Earn up to 40% Cash Back

* 2,500+ stores: eBay, Walmart, Amazon, Macy’s, Sephora, Lyft rides,    Grubhub, DoorDash & many more!

* Buy best brands: Access offers on best-selling brands


Rakuten savings help you buy the things you want & save at the same time.  Earn money with your vacation, find the best discount deals at your favorite stores and shop clothes from top brands.


Current Version: 5.7.0 (April 19, 2019)


Read? Ebates Rakuten: Get Cash Back’s AppleVis App Directory entry for more information [6]?

Visit? Ebates Rakuten: Get Cash Back’s App Store page [7]?


  1. Rocket (macOS, Free With In-App Purchases)


Mind-blowing emoji on your Mac.


Rocket is now the world’s first emoji picker for blind people!


The fastest, smoothest Slack-style emoji picker for your Mac


* Access to every emoji through the shortcut window

* Pick your favourite skin tone

* Light and dark themes


We’ll never nag you to upgrade, but if you want to step up your emoji game…




* Scroll and search your way through every emoji in the Search & Browse    window

* Use Rocket to send and store gifs, images, and memes

* Set custom emoji shortcuts and add your own emoji


Current Version: 1.5 (March 28, 2019)


Read? Rocket’s AppleVis App Directory entry for more information [8]?

Visit? Rocket’s website [9]?


All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:


iOS [14]

Mac [15]

Apple Watch [16]

Apple TV [17]


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’ll be happy to respond.

Have yourselves a great day and see you next week.



CCB Tech Articles, Donna’s Low Tech Tips, Apps Round-up, July 1, 2019

July 1, 2019

Apps round up


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

A belated happy Canada Day to everyone!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to my apps roundup.



1. Cardhop (iOS, US$3.99)

Until now, managing and interacting with your contacts has been a real frustration. Cardhop’s magical parsing engine is incredibly intuitive, letting you search, add, edit, and interact with your contacts using a simple sentence!


Just type in “John G” and John’s card will instantly appear. Or enter “Sarah Smith” and Cardhop will add a new contact to Sarah’s card. Or type in “call Michael S” and Cardhop will instantly start a phone call.




* Tap on the Cardhop search field

* Type in the details for your contact

* That’s it!



* A beautiful and simple contacts app, designed exclusively for your iPhone    and iPad

* Instantly works with your existing iOS contacts, there’s nothing to    configure

* Groups: quickly toggle contact groups with a tap

* Notes: a convenient and powerful way to add notes to your contacts,    helping you to strengthen your relationships

* Recents: quickly interact with your recent contacts

* Birthdays: receive birthday notifications, instantly see upcoming    birthdays, and easily send a wish on their special day

* iOS widget to quickly access your favorite contacts

* Siri Shortcuts

* Full accessibility and VoiceOver support

* Dark and light themes

* And much, much more!



* Quickly interact with your contacts with the following actions: Call,    Copy, Directions, Email, FaceTime, FaceTime Audio, Facebook Messenger,    Large Type, Message, Skype, Telegram, Twitter, URL, Viber, and VoIP

* Simply enter an action or abbreviation (which you’ll find in the Help    Book by entering “?” or “help”) followed by your contact’s name and    Cardhop will handle the rest

* Even better, some actions are flexible. For example, you can add a    subject to an email by entering “email Kent Lunch tomorrow?” and the    email including the subject will instantly appear, ready to go!

* Customizable quick actions are also available per contact, allowing for    single-tap actions


Cardhop — the contacts app you’ll actually want to use.

Current Version: 1.0.1 (March 30, 2019)

Read Cardhop’s AppleVis App Directory entry for more information

Visit Cardhop’s App Store page

Read about the Mac version of Cardhop on AppleVis.


2. WaterMinder® (iOS, US$4.99)


Get help with WaterMinder®, an easy, intuitive app to track your water intake. Based on your body weight (or your personal goal), WaterMinder will remind you to drink water to reach your daily goals. By seeing current water fill visually and in percents you will instantly know how well you are hydrated!


Keeping track of your daily water intake needs and making sure your body is well hydrated is not an easy task in todays busy world. Let WaterMinder help you!


Main Features

* Apple Watch app

* Today Widget

* iMessage Stickers

* Clean visual view of your current water fill

* Simple, quick and easy to use interface (just tap on 1 icon and a menu    opens with your options to log/track your water intake)

* Pre-defined cups for quick tracking

* Create custom cups (size, icon, color, drink type)

* Create unlimited custom reminders

* History and Graph, see your progress

* US oz, UK oz, L and ML units

* Earn and Share your Achievements

* Free guide to drinking water


Stay healthy, and drink more water – hydrate yourself!


Current Version: 3.7.8 (January 28, 2019)

Read WaterMinder®’s AppleVis App Directory entry for more information

Visit WaterMinder®’s App Store page


All recent app entries posted to AppleVis can be found at:



Apple Watch

Apple TV


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.


Getting the Job Done with Assistive Technology: It May Be Easier Than You Think, AccessWorld

Getting the Job Done with Assistive Technology: It May Be Easier Than You Think | AccessWorld

Getting the Job Done with Assistive Technology: It May Be Easier Than You Think | AccessWorld
Author Jamie Pauls
10-12 minutes

main region
Jamie Pauls

I remember getting my first computer back in the early 90s almost like it was yesterday. A friend of mine was receiving regular treatments from a massage
therapist who happened to be blind. My friend mentioned that this gentleman used a computer with a screen reader. I was vaguely aware that this technology
existed, but I never really considered using a computer myself until that first conversation I had with my friend. I began doing some research, and eventually
purchased my first computer with a screen reader and one program included. I’m sure there were a few other programs on that computer, but WordPerfect is
the only one I recall today. The vendor from whom I purchased the computer came to my home, helped me get the computer up and running, and gave me about
a half-hour of training on how to use the thing. A few books from what is now
Learning Ally
as well as the
National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
along with some really late nights were what truly started me on my journey. I sought guidance from a few sighted friends who were more than willing to
help, but didn’t have any knowledge about assistive technology. There were times when I thought I had wasted a lot of money and time, but I eventually
grew to truly enjoy using my computer.

I eventually became aware of a whole community of blind people who used assistive technology. They all had their preferred screen reader, and most people
used only one. Screen readers cost a lot of money and hardware-based speech synthesizers increased the cost of owning assistive tech. Unless the user was
willing to learn how to write configuration files that made their screen reader work with specific programs they wanted or needed to use, it was important
to find out what computer software worked best with one’s chosen screen reader. I eventually outgrew that first screen reader, and spent money to switch
to others as I learned about them. I have no idea how much money I spent on technology in those early years, and that is probably for the best!

Fast forward 25 years or so, and the landscape is totally different. I have a primary desktop PC and a couple laptop computers all running Windows 10.
I have one paid screen reader—JAWS for Windows from
—and I use two free screen-reading solutions—NVDA, from
and Microsoft’s built-in screen reader called Narrator.

I also have a MacBook Pro running the latest version of Apple’s Mac operating system that comes with the free VoiceOver screen reader built in. I have
access to my wife’s iPad if I need to use it, and I own an iPhone 8 Plus. These devices also run VoiceOver. Finally, I own a BrailleNote Touch Plus,
Android-based notetaker designed especially for the blind.

Gone are the days when I must limit myself to only one screen reader and one program to get a task accomplished. If a website isn’t behaving well using
JAWS and Google’s Chrome browser, I might try the same site using the Firefox browser. If I don’t like the way JAWS is presenting text to me on that website,
maybe I’ll switch to NVDA. If the desktop version of a website is too cluttered for my liking, I’ll often try the mobile version using either Safari on
my iPhone, or Chrome on my BrailleNote Touch.

The lines between desktop application and Internet site have blurred to the point that I honestly don’t think about it much anymore. It is often possible
to use either a computer or a mobile device to conduct banking and purchase goods.

So what makes all this added flexibility and increased choice possible, anyway? In many cases, the actual hardware in use is less expensive than it used
to be, although admittedly products such as the BrailleNote Touch are still on the high end of the price spectrum. Along with the availability of more
screen readers and magnification solutions than ever before, the cost of most of these solutions has come down greatly. Even companies like Vispero that
still sell a screen reader that can cost over a thousand dollars if purchased outright are now offering software-as-a-service options that allow you to
pay a yearly fee that provides the latest version of their software complete with updates for as long as you keep your subscription active.

While some may not consider free options such as NVDA or Narrator to be as powerful and flexible as JAWS, they will be perfectly adequate for other people
who aren’t using a computer on the job complete with specialized software that requires customized screen reader applications to make it work properly.
There are those who will rightly point out that free isn’t really free. You are in fact purchasing the screen reader when you buy a new computer as is
the case with VoiceOver on the Mac. While this may be true, the shock to the pocketbook may not be as noticeable as it would be if you had to plunk down
another thousand bucks or so for assistive technology after you had just purchased a new computer.

In addition to the advancements in screen reading technology along with the reduced cost of these products, app and website developers are becoming increasingly
educated about the needs of the blind community. I once spoke with a game developer who told me that he played one of his games using VoiceOver on the
iPhone for six weeks so he could really get a feel for how the game behaved when played by a blind person. Rather than throwing up their hands in frustration
and venting on social media about how sighted developers don’t care about the needs of blind people, many in the blind community are respectfully reaching
out to developers, educating them about the needs of those who use assistive technology, and giving them well-deserved recognition on social media when
they produce a product that is usable by blind and sighted people alike. Also, companies like Microsoft and Apple work to ensure that their screen readers
work with the company’s own including Safari and Microsoft Edge. Google and Amazon continue to make strides in the area of accessibility as well. Better
design and standards make it more likely that multiple screen readers will work well in an increasing number of online and offline scenarios.

You may be someone who is currently comfortable using only one screen reader with one web browser and just a few recommended programs on your computer.
You may be thinking that everything you have just read in this article sounds great, but you may be wondering how to actually apply any of it in your life.
First, I would say that if you are happy with your current technology then don’t feel intimidated by someone else who uses other solutions. That said,
I would urge you to keep your screen reading technology up to date as far as is possible. Also, make sure that you are using an Internet browser that is
fully supported by the websites you frequently visit. This will ensure that your experience is as fulfilling as it should be. For example, though Microsoft
Internet Explorer has been a recommended browser for many years for those using screen access technology due to its accessibility, it is no longer receiving
feature updates from Microsoft, and therefore many modern websites will not display properly when viewed using it.

If you think you would like to try new applications and possibly different assistive technology solutions but you don’t know where to start, keep reading.

Back when I first started using a computer, I knew of very few resources to which I could turn in order to gain skills in using assistive technology. Today,
there are many ebooks, tutorials, webinars, podcasts, and even paid individual training services available for anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge
of computers and the like. One excellent resource that has been referenced many times in past issues of AccessWorld is
Mystic Access,
where you can obtain almost every kind of training mentioned in the previous sentences. Another resource you may recognize is the
National Braille Press,
which has published many books that provide guidance on using various types of technology. Books from National Braille Press can generally be purchased
in both braille or in electronic formats.

There are also many online communities of people with vision loss who use a specific technology. Two of the most well known are
for users of iOS devices and the
Eyes-Free Google Group
for users of the Android platform. Both communities are places where new and long time users of these platforms can go to find assistance getting started
with the technology or for help troubleshooting issues they may encounter.

While I vividly recall my first experiences as a novice computer user, it is almost impossible for me to imagine actually going back to those days. Today,
the landscape is rich and the possibilities are endless for anyone who wishes to join their sighted counterparts in using today’s technology. While there
are still many hurdles to jump, I am confident that things will only continue to improve as we move forward.

So fear not, intrepid adventurer. Let’s explore this exciting world together. In the meantime, happy computing!

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

Comment on this article.

Related articles:

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• Looking Back on 20 Years of Assistive Technology: Where We’ve Been and How Far and Fast We’ve Come
by Bill Holton
• Getting the Most out of Sighted Computer Assistance: How to Help the Helpers
by Bill Holton
list end

More by this author:

list of 2 items
• Pinterest Takes Steps Toward Accessibility
• A Review of “Stress Less, Browse Happy: Your Guide to More Easily and Effectively Navigating the Internet with a Screen Reader,” an audio tutorial from
Mystic Access
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Must-Have Blindness Related Assistive Tech Podcasts, As Determined by GTT Participants, February 1, 2019

Must-Have Blindness Assistive Tech Podcasts

As Determined by

GTT Participant’s

Revised on February 1, 2019


To stay in touch with the blind world of accessible and assistive technology GTT participants refer frequently to the following list of podcasters.  Some we go to just to hear what’s new, what’s coming, what does or doesn’t work, and some we go to when we want to learn how to do a task, set-up a device or how to use an app.  Either way, these are our collective go-to podcasts for your consideration.  Please don’t think that you have to agree, and if you have others not yet included in this list please share them and they will be included.  The list is alphabetical and not by importance.


Thanks goes out to those GTT participants who helped make this list a little more complete.


  1. Accessibility Moving Forwards Podcast, for interesting interviews and assistive technology presentations.
  2. Airacast with Jonathan Mosen, for interviews, Agent and Explorer features and news about Aira.
  3. AMI Audio Live, for blindness related radio programs on AMI Audio.
  4. AppleVis, for learning how to, and for the news related to all things Apple.
  5. AT Banter Podcast by Canadian Assistive Technology, which consists of interviews with interesting people in the blind and multi-disabled assistive tech worlds.
  6. Audio Pizza, by and for the Blind, audio reviews and tutorials on the things we’re passionate about. Assistive tech from Apple’s Mac & iOS to reviews of the latest bespoke devices.
  7. Blind Abilities, for learning how to, and for the news related to all things assistive tech.
  8. Blind Bargains Audio, for learning how to, and for the news related to all things assistive tech.
  9. CNIB, Blind Wide Open Podcast, for presentations and interviews about blindness. Kim Kilpatrick was featured on January 8, 2019 talking about GTT.
  10. CNIB, Venture Zone Podcast, which seems to be interviews with blind entrepreneurs
  11. Comments On, Blind Vet Tech Quick Guides, for learning how to use all manner of apps and devices.
  12. Cool Blind Tech, it has over 400 episodes available, and appears to not have added anything new since August 2018.
  13. Devon Wilkins operates three podcasts related to blindness, Guide Dogs and our first love, old time radio, and they are called: Insight Peterborough; Spotlight On Assistance Dogs; and Canadians in Old Time Radio.
  14. Double Tap, an AMI Audio Show dedicated to blindness assistive tech interviews.
  15. Eyes on Success, a weekly, half hour radio show / podcast covering a wide variety of topics of interest to the visually impaired.
  16. FS Cast by Freedom Scientific giving you all the news about JAWS, ZoomText and Fusion.
  17. IACast, Making Success Accessible!
  18. iHabilitation by Tom Dekker, which is an iOS training podcast offering paid training sessions along with some free episodes.
  19. InTouch, a BBC interview podcast dealing with blindness and low vision issues.
  20. Kelly and Company, an AMI Audio program that features some assistive tech segments, local reporting and other blindness related interviews.
  21. Main Menu, ACB Radio, for the news related to all things assistive tech and blindness.
  22. Mystic Access, for free tutorials, helpful hints and news about the online and home-study courses they sometimes offer on a fee-for-service basis.
  23. Parallel, Relay FM, an interview podcast featuring many experts and innovators in the blind/tech world by Shelly Brisban. She is the author of the series of books titled, iOS Access for All, and is herself vision impaired.
  24. RNIB Tek Talk, for news on the blind assistive tech world.
  25. Seminars at Hadley, for hour long presentations, discussions and interviews related to assistive tech.
  26. TedTalks, consisting of several separate podcasts related to Education, Health, News and Politics, Society and Culture, and Technology, which all must be searched for and subscribed to individually.
  27. Technology Podcasts, NCBI from Ireland, Working for people with sight loss.
  28. The Canadian Council of the Blind Podcast, just because I have a couple of episodes on there, and the CCB Health and Fitness program has many more than that.
  29. The Tech Doctor Blog and Podcast, which posts new episodes infrequently, and that is very good, all-be-it completely Apple ecosystem based.
  30. Victor Reader Stream Information, which is infrequently updated with new material.
  31. Woodbridge, David, iSee – Using various technologies from a blind person’s perspective, for learning how to use many apps and devices.


Thx, Albert



Useful resource for everyone all about labelling on the GTT national call last week.

All about labeling, and identification. 

November 11, 2015. 

There were 20 participants on this very lively and useful conference call.

I am always amazed and really enjoy all of these calls with all of the wonderful information that comes to us from all across the country.

Sometimes the blind/low vision community seems small and scattered but it feels larger and much more unified when we all Get Together.

I want to thank everyone for all of your participation and ideas.

Wherever you have a GTT, (Whether in person or on a call) thank you for all you give and share with others.

A huge thank you to Lorne from the Edmonton GTT group.

He provided me with many e-mail resources on this call which I include in the notes below.

Lorne Weber is blind. He is the accessibility specialist for Norquest College and a volunteer on the GTT Edmonton team.

Also Donna Jodhan sent along a blog post about locator dots which I have incorporated into these notes as well as it is very relevant to this topic.

Once again, thank you all for your sharing and generosity.



Albert talk about the Orcam. 

OrCam optical character recognition, face recognition head mounted device. 

The web site is

Camera is on the right arm of the glasses.  Behind it is a bone conducting speaker. Just around your right ear. There is a processing unit 6 inches long, a inch wide. 4 hours of continuous use.  One trigger button, up and down volume and power. 

Can set up menus with trigger plus volume. 

Face recognition.  Pretty accurate with face recognition. It was tested with the same person wearing and then not wearing glasses and it still picked them up.

It cannot pick people up from a distance. 

It is Light dependent and people have to be within 5 or 6 feet of the person in order for it to recognize them.  It cannot recognize them as they come into a room or across the room and your face/orcam would need to be pointing directly at them.

  If there is a certain  product you want to identify regularly,  take picture of it and every time that product is there, it will identify it. You can hold a book or piece of paper in front of you and it reads. Albert did a demonstration.  Can read books.  Cannot save the file and read later.  If want to read part of a sheet, hold your finger near your face point it at the sheet it will hopefully read.  

It was able to Read text of buttons  on a washing machine. 

Can it pick up text on a screen. Yes it does and on the iphone screen.  

Does KNFB reader work on a screen? Yes. 

how does the weight feel?  The weight is not heavy but the cable coming off the back is bothersome. 

There was talk about Google glass and possible similar products.

Google glass was banned for privacy reasons because people did not like others taking pictures of them without their knowing it.

It is interesting to think about this in relation to people who are blind and needing to take pictures of things in order to identify them.


Google glass has a head phone jack. 

We talked about how expensive iphones are and talked about people being able to now use ipod touches for almost everything.

The new ipod touch which came out in the summer has a camera which is as good as the iphone 6.  Also the processor is as good as the iphone 6 as well.

This means that for much less cost, you can now use an ipod touch for almost everything and you don’t need to incur the monthly fees of a cell phone.

Wherever there is a wifi connection you can use the ipod touch.

Use it for everything except making calls or GPS.

Fongo gives you a phone number for Ipod touch.

It is voice over internet calling service.

You can make free calls as long as you are within range of your wifi.

You can also use it for text messaging if you pay a small fee.

You can have a voicemail box too and it gives you a phone number.

Note: Kim signed up for fongo.  The app itself is accessible but the sign up process is not very accessible.  There are captias that are not accessible and also a few check boxes that were not readable with voiceover on the I device.

Kim is contacting the company to point this out to them.

The new ipod touch also reads well with KNFB reader but KNFB reader costs over 100 dollars.


Voice is a free alternative to KNFB reader. 

fopydo provides a fairly inexpensive stand to use with your phone or device for scanning pages and products. 

My fitness pal app for iphone is not necessarily designed to read bar codes but it does a good job for bar code reading.

Crowdvis is a new IOS app that is similar to bemyeyes in that it puts you in touch with people who can give you descriptions of things.

It is an app that is similar to a facetime or skype call in that you  are using your video camera and hearing audio of the other person who is helping you.


Pen friend is used for many purposes by many people on the call.

They include:


Labeling Seed packets and also labeling the markers for what is growing in your garden.

Use pen friend also for labelling food items.

Put a label on the top of a spice jar and keep the lid each time you replace the spice.

PUt Put the label on a card before putting it on something in your freezer.

Put a label on a magnet before sticking on a can.

For clothes Can buy water proof ones last up to 70 washes. 

Pen friend labeller can also label chords, label cd’s, and anything around the house, also labelling medications.

Possibly use double sided tape to stick braille labels on plastic bottles such as medications.


We talked about locator dots.

Futureaids has a pack of locator dots that come in all different shapes and sizes.

Donna Jodhan told us that she has used them for many purposes.

CNIB sells them. and look for the shop.

Futureaids has them very inexpensively and seems to have more variety.

 What do people  use the different shaped ones for?

One option is for marking stoves or appliances where there are arrows.

Use the triangular ones to mark the up and down arrows.

If you are at the gym or other place where you would regularly need to place locator dots on a machine that others use, (examples washers/dryers in  an apartment building, equipment at a fitness facility, etc, you might be able to create or have someone with sight create a sheet of plastic built with locator dots  so that you could put it over the panel. 

We talked about colour identifyers and colour identification apps.

The Colorino Color identeifyer unit has also a light detector and some said it is very good and easy to use and has lasted a long time.

Another person had the Colour reader by cobalt. 

There are a few apps that can work well but are not fool proof.

Aid colors is the one Kim uses.

She also uses the app called light detector for determining whether or not lights are on.

We talked about labelling clothes as colour identifier apps and systems do not always work well.

One good way of labelling clothes is to use Brass safety pins. They have to be Good quality. 

We talked about labelling stove tops and how some of the flat stove tops are not as accessible.

Someone suggested using a template to put over the stove top.

Solid state stove top is easier to feel. 

WE talked about the speed dots screen protectors for I devices.  No one on the call was using these.  Some people like them and others not so much.

Here are the excellent resources from Lorne Weber.

Additional Resources

GTT National Conference Call

November 11, 2015


iPhone technology that will puff out tactile buttons on the screen of your phone and then will flatten out again once the keyboard disappears is from a company called Tactus Technology,

they’re offering it in the form of a case you put your phone into (currently sold out), and it’s called Phorm (spelled with the PH). you can find out more

information if you go to the following website and go to the 4th heading down from the top where they have a frequently asked questions section:


A free app you can get that will give you a free local inbound and outbound Canadian phone number + voicemail, and will let you make unlimited long

distance calls across Canada is called Fongo, you can download the app here:


However be warned, if you sign up using the app on the phone there is a CAPTCHA. if you opt to sign up for the free pc or Mac option, then you can fill

out all the information on your computer using Jaws, etc., so you could use Firefox and the Web Vism plugin for solving CAPTCHAS.


Another app I suggested as a free alternative to the KNFB Reader app is called Voice – Take Pictures & Have Them Read/Spoken In Many

Languages with Fast OCR, and it can be found here:


and here is Applevis’s excellent page describing it:


and there is even a demonstration of it from Applevis:


We discussed the Six Dot Braille Labeller, a  new cheaper alternative to a full Braille Embosser for making braille labels, this is it:


it seems the PenFriend Labeller is quite popular with GTT groups.  CNIB is selling it for $199 here:


And here are some demos of it:



During the call we tried to remember the name of the cheaper alternative to the PenFriend labeller that Aroga sells. It’s called the AnyBook Reader, made by Franklin

Electronics, for $40, more info is here: