GTT Toronto Summary Notes, Seeing AI, Tap Tap See, Be My Eyes and Aira, January 17, 2019

Summary Notes

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group

January 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, January 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: Seeing AI, TapTapSee, BeMyEyes and Aira

 

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

 

Ian White (Facilatator, GTT)

Chelsy Moller Presenter, Balance For Blind Adults

 

Ian opened the meeting. Chelsy Moller will be presenting on recognition aps.

 

General Discussion:

  • We began with a general discussion. OrCam will be presenting at the White Cane Expo. AIRA will not. We’re still in negotiation to see if they will open up the event as a free AIRA event space. Apple will also not be there. They make it a corporate policy not to present at generalized disability events.
  • Ian raised the issue of getting a media error 7 when he’s recording on his Victor Stream. Is there a list of errors somewhere? Jason answered that perhaps it’s a corrupted SD card. A member said that there’s a list of errors in an appendix to the manual, which can be accessed by holding down the 1 key.
  • Michael asked if there’s a way to add personal notes in BlindSquare, such as, 25 steps. One recommendation was a document that you could access through the cloud. Another recommendation was to mark a “point of interest” in BlindSquare. When you do this, you can name it, so you could call it, Shoppers 25, to indicate 25 steps. Another recommendation was to make notes using the iPhone notes ap. Another recommendation was to set up geo-dependent iPhone reminders. Within a radius of the spot you want, your phone would just tell you whatever information you put in.
  • A member raised the problem of using Windows 10 and Jaws, trying to synchronize contacts email with Apple, and having duplicate folders in his Outlook email. Microsoft exchange might help.
  • Jason told the group that he has an Instant Pot smart available for sale. This is a pressure cooker that works with the iPhone, and it’s no longer available as an iPhone connectable device. He’s thinking $100, talk to him privately if interested.
  • Then he described a new keyboard he got. It’s a Bluetooth called REVO2, which he received as a demo unit. It’s got 24 keys. You can type on your phone with it, or control your phone with it. Its most useful use is when you need to key in numbers after having made a call, such as keying in bank passwords etc. Alphabetic entry works the way old cell phones did, press 2 twice for B. It has actual physical buttons. It can control every aspect of VoiceOver. You can also route your phone audio to it, so you’re essentially using it as a phone. It’s about $300. It can be paired to iPhone and Android. Here’s a link to the David Woodbridge podcast demonstrating the Rivo Keyboard:
  • A member asked if Phone it Forward is up and running. This is a program in which CNIB takes old phones, refurbishes them, then redistributes them to CNIB clients. Phone It Forward information can be found at this link.

 

Seeing AI, Tap Tap C, Be My Eyes, and AIRA Presentation:

Ian introduced Chelsie, who is an Adaptive Technology Trainer, and Engagement Specialist. She’s here tonight to talk about recognition aps.

We’re going to focus on 4 aps, Seeing AI, Tap Tap C, Be My Eyes, and AIRA.

  • Seeing AI is an ap that allows the user to do a variety of visual tasks, scene description, text recognition, vague descriptions of people, light levels, currency recognition, and colour preview. Each of these functions is called a channel. As a side note, Chelsie said that her iPhone10 uses facial recognition as your password. A store employee told her it wouldn’t work because it needs to see your retina, but this isn’t true; it works from facial contours.

Chelsie opened the ap. There’s a menu, quick help, then channel chooser. To get from channel to channel, flick up. She did a demonstration of short text with a book. It’s helpful for reading labels and packaging. Try to keep the camera about a foot above the text, and centred. This requires some trial and error. The document channel takes a picture of the text. It’s better for scanning a larger surface. Short text is also very useful for your computer screen if your voice software is unresponsive. Short text will not recognize columns, but document mode usually will. The product channel is for recognizing bar codes. This is a bit challenging because you have to find the bar code first. Jason said that it’s possible to learn where the codes typically appear, near the label seem on a can, or on the bottom edge of a cereal box. The person channel tells you when the face is in focus, then you take a picture. You get a response that gives age, gender, physical features, and expression. Chelsie demonstrated these, as well as currency identifier. It’s very quick. The scene preview also takes a picture, and gives you a very general description. The colour identification channel is also very quick. There’s also a hand writing channel, that has mixed results. The light detector uses a series of ascending and descending tones. Beside the obvious use of detecting your house lights, it’s also useful in diagnosing electronics. If you turn all other lights off, you can use it to see if an indicator light on a device is on.

Seeing AI is free. It’s made by Microsoft, who has many other ways of generating revenue.

  • Tap Tap C is a very good ap for colour identification. This is always a tricky thing, because colour is often subjective, and is affected by light levels. Tap Tap C takes a picture, and gives a general description including colour. For more accurate colour description, Be My Eyes and AIRA are better. Tap Tap C is free.
  • Be My Eyes is a service in which a blind person contacts volunteers who help with quick identification or short tasks. Because they’re volunteers, the quality of help varies. You may have to wait for a volunteer. There’s a specialized help button. You can use Be My Eyes to call the disability help desk. This is useful if you need technical help from Microsoft, and they need to see your screen. This ap is also free.
  • AIRA is a paid service. Chelsie has been using it for a month. She’s very happy with it. It connects a blind user with a trained, sighted agent. This could be anything from “what is this product?” “I need to find this address,” I need to navigate through a hospital or airport. When you set up your profile, you can specify how much information you want in a given situation, and how you like to receive directions. They can access your location via GPS, in order to help navigate. They will not say things like “it’s safe to cross,” but they will say things like, “You have a walk signal with 10 seconds to go.” They’re seeing through either your phone camera, or through a camera mounted on glasses you can ware.

They have 3 plans, introductory, 30 minutes. You cannot buy more minutes in a month on this plan. You can upgrade though. The standard plan is 120 minutes at $100, or the $125 plan, that gives you 100 minutes plus the glasses. The advantage of this is that you can be hands-free when travelling. The glasses have a cord connecting them to an Android phone that has been dedicated to the AIRA function. Otherwise, you simply use your own phone with its built-in camera. This happens via an ap that you install.

The question was raised about whether the glasses could be Bluetooth, but the feedback was that there’s too much data being transmitted for Bluetooth to work.

On the personal phone ap, you open the ap and tap on the “call” button. With the glasses, there’s a dedicated button to press to initiate the call.

Chelsie spoke about how powerfully liberating it is to have this kind of independence and information. You can, read her blog post about her experience here

The third plan is 300 minutes and $190. All these prices are U.S.

Jason added that, in the U.S. many stores are becoming Sight Access Locations. This means that if you already have an AIRA subscription, use at these locations won’t count against your minutes. The stores pay AIRA for this. This will likely begin to roll out in Canada. Many airports are also Sight Access Locations. You can’t get assigned agents, but you may get the same agent more than once. If you lose your connection, the agent will be on hold for about 90 seconds so that you can get the same agent again if you call back immediately. For head phones, you can use ear buds or Aftershocks.

 

Upcoming Meetings:

  • Next Meeting: Thursday, February 21 at 6pm
  • Location: CNIB Community Hub space at 1525 Yonge Street, just 1 block north of St Clair on the east side of Yonge, just south of Heath.
  • Meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at 6pm.

 

GTT Toronto Adaptive Technology User Group Overview:

  • GTT Toronto is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Toronto promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the better able we will be equipped with the talent and experience to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.GTTProgram.Blog/

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

 

 

 

GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, 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.

 

Summary:

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.

 

Resources

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:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

To subscribe, activate the “Follow”link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

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

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

 

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