GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, How to Search and Download From the New CELA Website, September 11, 2019

GTT National Conference Call.


An Initiative of the Canadian Council of the Blind


Summary Notes

September 11, 2019



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

08 GTT National Conference Call Summary Notes, How to Search and Download From the New CELA Website, September 11, 2019:



What is CELA:

  • The CELA accessible library service for print disabled Canadians provides many services including: downloadable recorded DAISY books, downloadable DAISY eBooks, downloadable Bookshare DAISY eBooks, DAISY books on CD mailed to your home, braille books mailed to your home, print-brailled books for kids, over 150 downloadable DAISY e-text magazines, recorded DAISY magazines by download or mail, and over 40 daily newspapers that can be read online.
  • In early 2019 CELA launched a new accessible website that brings together their collection and that of Bookshare searchable from one place.
  • Many will recognize these CELA services to be the same as those previously provided by the CNIB Library. CELA took over the CNIB Library in 2014 and now serves all print-disabled Canadians not just those who are blind or vision impaired.


The Players:

  • In addition to playing CD books the Victor Reader Stratus can also receive direct to player DAISY books over the Internet. The user chooses their book by logging into CELA online and once a book is chosen it is sent directly to the player. For non-computer users, CELA customer service or your local Librarian can set up a reader profile for you and then the CELA computer will choose your books and send them directly to the player or on CD mailed to your home.
  • It is also suggested some may prefer the pocket sized Victor Reader Stream which can accept the direct to player books and perform other online functions Such as getting Bookshare books and listening to podcasts and radio stations.
  • CELA Direct to Player audio books can also be played on your iPhone or Android phone using the free Dolphin EasyReader app.
  • CELA audio books can also be downloaded through Dropbox to iPhones and played using the Voice Dream Reader app.


How much does it cost:

  • There is no fee for CELA service or Bookshare service.



How do I find CELA:

  • Visit the CELA web site for information on all their services or call their customer service at 1-855-655-2273.


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:


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:

list of 2 items
• 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
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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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Re-post: Orbit Reader 20 Removed from APH Catalog

Orbit Reader 20 Removed from APH Catalog
Author: APH Blogger
Date Written: Apr 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Date Saved: 4/5/19, 12:44 PM

Photo of the Orbit Reader 20 on a white background.
After months of ongoing negotiations between the Transforming Braille Group (of which APH is a member) and Orbit Research (the manufacturer of the Orbit Reader 20), American Printing House has removed the Orbit Reader 20 from its catalog and shopping site. This comes after discussions have stalled regarding the terms of distribution to TBG partners. The global nonprofits that make up the TBG collaborate as a group to purchase Orbit Reader 20s as part of an effort to keep costs low.
“Working with the TBG, APH has negotiated in good faith for many months, balancing the needs of our customers and organization, our interest in driving a low-cost braille market, and our valuable partnerships with TBG members,” says APH President Craig Meador. “Despite our best efforts, we have not found alignment on the issues at hand. APH must now move forward, and focus our energies on our mission to support students with braille literacy and adults in their independence.”
The Orbit Reader 20 started with a question: “how do we make refreshable braille more affordable?” To that end leaders in the field of blindness from around the world, including APH, gathered to create the Transforming Braille Group. Creating low cost refreshable braille is a difficult task, and there were a lot of setbacks throughout the process. Thankfully the effort had an impact.
“APH was proud to be the company that stood up to be the first to bring this ground-breaking technology to market,” says Meador, “It was all worth it to be an innovator, and show that we could bring prices down. That part worked. We now have competition in the low-cost braille market that wasn’t happening five years ago. Sometimes you have to take a risk – that’s what we did.”
The drop in prices created more access by showing what can be possible. For example, the National Library Service has announced they plan to offer free refreshable braille devices to their readers in the coming years.
APH will continue its efforts to support low cost braille. “Braille cells cost a lot of money to manufacture, and the demand isn’t high enough to drive that price down – we’ll keep trying. Although it’s not an easy journey, we believe everyone who needs braille should have access to it.”
APH and the TBG are continuing to negotiate with Orbit Research in hopes that a resolution can be found. In the meantime, APH is looking at other possible low-cost refreshable braille options to include in its catalog. They will complement new premium refreshable braille devices built for students and educational use now and soon available from APH through a partnership with HumanWare.
Orbit Research is expected to honor the warranty and continue repairs for already purchased Orbit Readers. Any requests for repairs should continue to come through APH. Supporting documentation, like the Orbit User Guide and user videos, will remain available to customers who have purchased an Orbit Reader from APH.

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

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

Author: J.J. Meddaugh

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

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


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

The BrailleNote Touch Gets Refreshed

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

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

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

A Braille Display of a Different Kind

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

Magnified Options for People with Low Vision Revealed

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

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

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

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

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

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

A New Kind of Wearable

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

Teaching Braille and Code to Kids

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

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

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

A New Guide for Seniors

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


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

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

Comment on this article.

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

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, VR Stream and General Discussion, November 12, 2018

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting November 12, 2018


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held November 12at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

20 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.


November Topics –VR Stream and General Discussion

Victor Reader Stream Online Functions

Gerry provided a demonstration of the Online functions of the Victor Reader Stream including Podcasts, Bookshare, Internet Radio, Wikipedia and Wiktionary References, and CELA Direct to Player.



It is not possible to describe these features in length in these notes but here is a brief summary. Refer to the HumanWare resources below for more detailed instructions.

  • Online Button: You move back and forth between the SD card bookshelves and the online bookshelves by pressing the online button in the centre of the top row just above key #2. You press and hold this online button to turn airplane mode on or off. Airplane mode must be off to enable a wi-fi connection to the Internet which is required to access the online content.
  • You move between the online bookshelves by pressing key 1 multiple times.
  • Podcast Bookshelf. When you are on the podcast bookshelf you move back and forth between its books (podcast feeds) by pressing keys 4 and 6. You may add a new podcast feed by pressing the GoTo key multiple times to find the option to add a new feed. You open the list of episodes in a feed by pressing the Confirm key. You then move back and forth between the episodes by pressing keys 4 and 6. Prior to the first episode is the option to get more episodes.
  • Bookshare Bookshelf: You must contact the CELA Library to request that Bookshare access be added to your account and then add the Bookshare username and password to your Stream using menu key #7. You may search for new Bookshare books and download them. Bookshare books are DAISY text only meaning they are read by the Stream’s built-in speech. You navigate the list of books on this bookshelf with keys 4 and 6 and open any book by pressing the Play or Confirm key.
  • Internet Radio Bookshelf: You Press keys 4 and 6 to move back and forth between the Radio books (playlists). Press the Go To key multiple times to find the search option where you can type keywords to find new radio stations. Press the Bookmark key to add a radio station from the search results list to your Favorites playlist. Press Play key to play any station.
  • References bookshelf: You press keys 4 or 6 to move between the 2 books (Wikipedia or Wiktionary) on this bookshelf. In either case you use the GoTo key to search for a word in Wiktionary or an article in Wikipedia. A preview of the word definition or article will be heard. You press the Play key to listen and navigate the full article. You may save the article by pressing key 3.
  • CELA Direct to Player Bookshelf: You register for CELA service online or through your local library. You must then add the assigned user account number to your Stream using menu key #7. You navigate the books on this bookshelf with keys 4 or 6. You open a book by pressing Play or Confirm key. These are DAISY books, so you navigate them with keys 2 or 8 to select the level of navigation and keys 4 or 6 to move back and forth at the chosen level. You return a book to CELA with key 3 followed by confirm. Unlike Bookshare books, you cannot search for CELA books using the Stream. You must search the CELA library with your computer and when you find your book select its Direct to Player link to cause the book to download to your Stream. You may also ask CELA customer support (1-855-655-2273) to automatically select your books based on your reading interests. You may also ask customer support to subscribe you to magazines which will download to the Stream automatically when issued. There are 150 magazines to choose from.



The HumanWare training web page for the Victor Reader Stream has information on using the Stream online features including:

  • Connecting to a wireless network.
  • Using the multi-tap text entry method to enter text on the keypad.
  • Adding Bookshare accounts.
  • Searching for Bookshare books.
  • Searching for Internet Radio stations.
  • Playing Internet Radio stations.
  • Searching for and adding Podcast feeds.
  • Managing Podcast feeds and playing Podcast episodes.
  • Also, refer to the built-in User guide which can be accessed any time by pressing and holding key #1. To exit the User Guide press and hold key #1 again. While in the User Guide, you may navigate by chapter and section as it is a DAISY book. You may also search the User Guide. Press the Goto key at the top left until you hear, Search. Then type in your search keywords on the number pad and press the Confirm or Pound key. You will be positioned in the User Guide at the first occurrence of your search text. Press key #6 to find the next occurrence or key 4 to find the previous. Instructions on typing text on the number pad can be found at the same HumanWare training web page.


General Discussion

The second hour comprised a very good general discussion on many

technology topics. Here is a summary:

  • Screen Reader: JAWS remains as the most prevalent screen reader program but for those transitioning to a screen reader the free NVDA screen reader should be quite adequate especially if the environment is not work or school.
  • Touch Typing: It is important if you are losing your vision and cannot touch type that you
  • learn this skill as the screen reader will not type for you.
  • Braille: There are some who think braille is old fashioned in our modern high tech world, but the reality is that braille is more available than ever through the use of electronic braille keyboards and refreshable displays to access computers and smartphones. Also, braille remains the only way to read and maintain your literacy skills as a blind person.
  • Android vs. iPhone: The choice of which type of phone to purchase is always a personal choice as both have screen magnification and screen reader accessibility features. Advantages of Android include a wider variety of phone devices that are less expensive than iPhones. Advantages of iPhones are that they are thought to be less problematic with the access features and as there are many more iPhone users than Android, your chances to get iPhone support are better.
  • Retail Advice re: Smartphones: Generally, sales people in retail stores don’t understand accessibility. For example, if you are blind, they often show you the Siri voice assistant whereas they do not understand that VoiceOver, the built-in screen reader, is the essential tool. Be cautious with advice from retail people. They mean well but are not typically well informed on accessibility.


Next Meeting (Monday December 10 at 7pm)

  • As usual for our December meeting, we will be joined by Steve Barclay, owner of Canadian Assistive Technology. Steve will demonstrate and talk about blind and low vision assistive technology products that may be purchased from his company. Bring your questions! This is a terrific opportunity to meet Steve and benefit from his many years in the assistive technology business.
  • 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 and drop off space for taxis, DATS.
  • 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 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:

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:


[End of Document]



Humanware, BrailleNote Touch and KeyMath – Succeed like a pro!

BrailleNote Touch and KeyMath – Succeed like a pro!

HumanWare logo. see things. differently.

WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL! – BrailleNote Touch and KeyMath – Succeed like a pro!

BrailleNote Touch and KeyMath – Succeed like a pro!

Back to School is here and HumanWare would like to help you build your confidence in using Braille Note Touch and KeyMath. We`ve created two webinars,
each focusing on several key, frequent use features of KeyMath, the valuable math application on BrailleNote Touch. Designed to complement each other and
not to be missed, these two webinars are your best ally in getting the best out of BrailleNote Touch and KeyMath.

Join Peter Tucic, HumanWare Product Specialist hosting these 2 webinars that will focus on using the KeyMath application on the BrailleNote Touch. It is
our pleasure to also have a special guest participant in both these webinars. Find out who on webinar day!

What is KeyMath, how to use it and troubleshooting tips.

Wednesday August 23rd at 2:00 PM EDT


KeyMath allows for the seamless translation of either UEB or Nemeth braille math into perfect visual output. In the first webinar, Peter will demonstrate
how a student is able to create and place math content into a Microsoft .DOCX file in addition to using HumanWare’s symbol and template selector tools.
Peter will also help teachers and students alike employ best practice and troubleshooting methods for the efficient use of KeyMath and will demonstrate
how easy it is to save and share math assignments.

Reviewing and editing math homework, sharing assignments with teachers and classmates, and what’s coming next with KeyMath.

In the second webinar, Peter will demonstrate how a student can easily edit math content that has been previously created. The process of sharing files
to both Google Drive, DropBox, and the KeyMail Application will also be shown. This second webinar will also preview a very exciting update to KeyMath
that will for the first time allow a student to generate graphs for his/her sighted teacher, as well as the ability to emboss graphs and images for further
exploration. Humanware looks forward to your participation in one or both of these webinars, and also to the start of a new school year.

Wednesday August 30 at 2:00 PM EDT


We look forward to sharing with you this valuable information!


HumanWare, 1 UPS Way, Champlain, NY 12919, USA


GTT Ottawa meeting notes September 21 2015.

GTT Ottawa Meeting

Date: Monday Sept 20 2015
This meeting was live-streamed
Location:  CCB office 20 James Street
The meeting was also attended by vendors who were in town in order to attend the annual CNIB Tech Fair taking place in Ottawa on Tuesday September 21. The vendors all described their products, and told us what was new.

Bram Caron:  Aroga Technologies

–Canada-wide ; hi and low  tech products for people with disabilities including communication, mobility and vision.  Aroga also distributes Ambutech canes.
–The canes are available in any colour you want
–Classic white canes are also available.
–For every cane you choose, there are also lots of different kinds of tips.
–Canes available in white with coloured handles, joints and tips.
— Canes with a red base are still available
–Colours include; royal blue, purple, gold, red, and many more. 
–The solid coloured cane is available
–The hybrid cane is a little less durable than the standard mobility cane but is very light weight and easy to carry around.  Many guide dog users carry them around to have a cane when needed. between mobility and identification  cane; these are good for the not-so-heavy cane users.  These are also called slim-line canes.
–Kiddie canes are also available.
— A question was asked about whether or not people who are blind traveling around with these types of canes confuse the public?    Aroga and ambutech have not noticed this.  These canes are becoming more popular and are causing some people (especially kids and youth who might not otherwise use a cane) to begin carrying one around. 

–You can usually tell that a person is blind, regardless of the colour cane he/she is using
–There are now different ways people use their canes to get around. There are tappers and swipers who use canes differently.  Cane choice is a personal preference — Society still recognizes them as canes for vision-impaired.
–Some canes have lights on them in Europe.  The lights are hard to replace, and the batteries are easily-broken  
–There are many cane handles to choose from although the hybrid (slim line)  canes come with cork handles only at the moment. 
The other canes can come with foam, cork, carved wood and like a golf-club.  Wood handles are heavy. As with cane preference,  handles also are a matter of preference.  It often amounts to what  transmits information best for each user.  
–There is quite a new cane tip called Dakota disc:  It feels like a mini-frisbee–good for grass, sand, gravel There are also tips that are roller-balls now have high-mileage. There are also marshmallow and pencil tips. 
Again tip preference varies for each cane user. 

–What’s the best cane/tip for snow?  There are  different kinds of snow and snow like conditions.   It would depend on where you are living and what kind of walking you do.
Something that glides over snow.  Dakota tips are good for gliding but heavier and possibly not as durable as roller or marshmallow tips. 
 There is a support cane that you use for support while walking.  It is not a mobility cane. 
Canes are used for support, mobility, identity.
–Aroga has 15 different kinds of canes
–Aroga has other products, including the vibrating glasses that warn the blind person about objects and obstacles that are above the waist and above the sweep of a cane.
–When a product breaks, Aroga tries to get it back to the customer as soon as possible.
Their web site is
–Their phone number is  1-800-561-6222

David Greenich: Canadialog

–The  company has  been around for 5 years
–They have products from Freedom Scientific, JAWS, Magic, and focus Braille Displays.
–You can try before you buy for about a week before you make the commitment.
–This company is nationwide with offices throughout Canada.
–David demonstrated a portable CCTV that weighs less than 5 lbs and can be connected to a laptop.
The book goes under the camera like a CCTV There is also a bigger model of CCTV, weighing about 8 lbs.
–Another product they sell is the Topaz, costing $2,700.00.  This may qualify for ADP funding  
–They also sell the Ruby magnifier–hand held.
–Reminder Rosie–a talking alarm clock that saves up to 25 reminders is a new product they  are starting to sell.  They will be selling other household products too. 

— Clients are looking for more the low tech products such as clocks, microwaves etc.Their web site is 

Stephen Ricci: Frontier Computing

–He has also been a customer, having used the products himself.
— This company was founded by someone who is blind.
–They sell products for people with other kinds of disabilities; It is a one-stop shop for high  and low-tech as well as an ADP vendor; corporate, educational institutions, libraries, government and individuals, at home, work, play and school. Their products hope to level the playing field, and to help people feel independent, self-confident and successful.
–Some equipment is loaned.
–They represent all the manufacturers but don’t have a large supply of materials.  
–Frontier staff use the products.  
–if a product should break, they try to get it back to the customer as soon as possible. They also offer tech  support to customers.

–The Zoomtext keyboard is of better quality.  The letters are in large print and high-contrast and specialized keys that control some of the functions. This can be found on AISquared.  

Michel: Humanware

–A manufacturer of innovative solutions like the Braille Note Apex note taker and the Victor Readers Prodigy–video magnifier assistant that works on a tablet.
–Humanware does market surveys to find out what the consumer wants.
–The Trekker Breeze 2 has been revamped and more efficient, like a talking GPS–walking or riding public transportation.
–The Victor Reader Stream allows you to listen to radio shows over Wi-Fi.  It also allows you to download podcasts and download books from CNIB/CELA library and bookshare.

–Questions arose about transferring CDs onto the Stream.
–There are different options for braille displays to connect to computers and smart phones.  
The human ware line up includes the brailliant braille displays as well as the braille note family of note takers.  
There was a question about getting a braille display that had limited note taking capabilities. 

–We don’t need all the features as these are available on our phones.  
–Humanware can be contacted at 1-888-722-3393 

Claude Harris: Locus Engineering

–Developing an echolocation device
–Not everyone can echolocate
–The device consists of a small board sends out an ultrasonic pulse and makes tones. Each frequency represents a distance, with close objects making a high-frequency tone and getting lower the further away the object is from you
–It is meant to be an extension of a white cane–a succession of echoes that warn us about obstacles ahead.  
–Users can change the chirp rate. You can send a pulse out or have it set to automatic–there are 6 frequency bands. He is just in the process of developing this product.  He is very keen to have some of us test this product once he has developed it more. 
In a few months we can try it out.
–Can it be fitted onto a white cane? If not on the cane, it could be clipped on or worn.
–As a cane is angled, it may not be able to get a straight echo.
–What about people who are blind and also need to use walkers?  Could it be put onto the front of a mobility device like a walker or wheelchair?   
–Hand-guide; set to beep or vibrate
–Every 6 inches, users will hear a new musical tone.  You can hear things ahead of you.  You would aim the device like a flashlight as it has a very directional beam.  
— Claude’s website is

Issues discussed:

— CNIB ID cards question. If you are totally blind, you don’t need an eye assessment to get a new CNIB ID card.   This new practice was put into place because there have been so many changes and advancements in ophthalmology and optometry.  We will be required to show proof of legal blindness.  You can obtain an eye report through your optometrist or ophthalmologist just before your ID card is due.

We brainstormed topics  for  future meetings

–using braille displays with iphones
–comparing braille displays
–using hand-held magnifiers
–What is new in IOS 9?

— AODA; where to turn if you have a question or concern
–Ottawa Public Library now has 3-D printers–what do they do?  
–Will there be a workshop on 3d printing–is the software accessible?  
–all about spreadsheets How to use them. 
–A workshop on photography–using your camera and KNFB Reader and other barcode readers  to get information
–Useable, exchangeable and nice-to-have apps
–Household and kitchen items touchscreens and menus labelling and identifying
Comparison of screen readers

Next Meeting

Monday, October 26
CCB Office, 20 James Street
We will divide into two groups. 
Group 1. All about braille displays. 
Group 2. All about hand held magnifyers.