Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Supporting a worthy cause I am coordinating for people who are blind or partially sighted

Hello to all of my wonderful friends.
Below find the text of a letter I send along seeking donations of equipment or money for a very worth while group I am coordinating.
This is a group helping people who are blind or partially sighted with their accessible technology.
It is one of the most wonderful and rewarding things I have done in quite some time.
We have started a once monthly tech group where we all come together and share tips and devices and laughs too!
Last week with over 20 people ranging in age from 16 to 70s, we shared and taught each other.  The many guide dogs in the room were also very well behaved.
Besides this group, we are also having drop ins where I help people with their equipment as well as workshops and training.
See letter below.
Also, if you can't help with equipment or financially and still want to support us by volunteering, please let me know as well.
We are applying for grants right now to keep the program going and hopefully growing.
Feel free to share this far and wide.
Thank you very much for your friendship and support.
Hello friends and supporters of the GTT Program,

We have been delighted by the interest in the GTT (Get Together with Technology) Program.

We thank our partners, CCB (Canadian Council of the Blind), and CNIB and our sponsoring organization, the CCCC (Crichton Cultural Community Centre) for their help and support.

We have commenced holding regular monthly Tech User Groups, Drop-in Sessions and One to One Training, and have a need for dedicated equipment for use in the program. This equipment would be used to provide hands-on training and enable users who are blind or have low vision, to become familiar with various kinds of technical equipment.

For people who are blind or have low vision, technology is often very costly and not always completely accessible. People who are blind need to be able to really examine and learn about all of their options before making a choice to purchase. Often retail store staff don't know much about the accessibility of the equipment they sell, so it is important that people  get to explore technology and be able to learn its features from peers or trainers who are blind or have low vision. This equipment may also be used by the GTT coordinators for administrative work for the program.

If you can donate equipment or funds or know someone interested in being a GTT donor, please pass on this message to them on our behalf. Donors will be issued a charitable tax receipt from the CCCC for all financial gifts or equipment.

Equipment requested:

ipods (especially ipod touch,  3rd, 4th, or 5th generation, but also ipod nano or shuffle)

ipads (any model including ipad mini)

iphones (3GS, 4, 4S or 5)

Android devices (running icecream sandwich or jelly bean)

macbooks (mac minis or imacs)

PC laptops

Digital talking book players (Victor models, Booksense or Plextalk)

If you have other equipment, please contact the GTT program gttprogram@rogers.com to discuss this.

Thank you so very much,

Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman
GTT coordinators 
twitter @gttprogram

Kim Kilpatrick and Ellen Goodman 
GTT Program Coordinators 
Crichton Cultural Community Centre: (613) 745-2742 

Apps for everything but would I need this one?

Yesterday, I came across a posting of someone who was developing an app for an I device. It is one that converts colour into sound. It made me think. Would I use such a thing. I do sometimes associate colour with sound but it is a personal association. I think of dark colours as the bass notes on a piano or cello or tuba. I think of bright colours like the sound of a trumpet or flute or piccolo. I think of light colours as a ringing of a clear high bell. So I might not like it if someone else picked the sounds for the colours. I'd just rather hear the word. What that colour is. Very interesting concept though.

Monday, November 26, 2012

First snow.

I was a bit surprised to step outside this morning into our first snow. Not much. But some on the ground. That kind which squeaks underfoot and also is somewhat fluffy. My guide dog snorted when she saw it but seemed quite content to venture forth. Now the sun is out brightly so I doubt it will last long. but winter is coming. Oh the blindfolding gloves. The hoods which mask hearing. The thick boots which make it tougher to feel what is underfoot. but the clear crisp days will be here too. Smile!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Very exciting tech group last night.

We had our second monthly tech user group for people who are blind here last night. We had 20 people and six guide dogs in the room. Lots of laughter, lots of lively discussion, lots of knowledge sharing. I so love coordinating this program. It meets a real need in our community. It shows that people who are blind can assist others and help them learn. We can show each other what tech works, what apps work, and what we do. All age groups were represented. It was wonderful. You can follow us on twitter at @gttprogram. There is nothing like coordinating a program that touches your heart and that you feel passionately about. Thanks to everyone who makes this possible. Our next meeting on Monday Dec 17 we share our favourite apps with each other.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

On community radio

Yesterday, I had a new adventure.  I have been learning for a while how to be on our local university radio.  I have always loved radio.  I think when you are totally blind, you do love it as it is the most accessible.  It is far more accessible than television and very blind friendly.
I have been trying to learn more about techniques and am starting to learn about audio editing.
Here is the link to the show I created.  Songs that contain stories.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Performing at dinner in the dark

Last night, I performed at a local dinner in the dark event. Everyone was blind folded and ate their whole dinner that way. Of course, I was not blindfolded and the volunteers were not.
The audience was very attentive and listened well. Laughed a lot and seemed very responsive. Just goes to show that storytelling is such an auditory experience. When I sat at my table, one of my table mates wanted to know if she had a glass of water. We each had one. She could not find it so I got up and helped her. It was nice to be able to do that. When the blind folds came off, one person said the room was totally different from what she would have imagined it to be! Fascinating!

Monday, November 12, 2012

did not recognize a friend's voice

I pride myself in knowing who people are by their voices. I'm good at it generally. I don't need to have met a person very many times before I know who they are. If they call me by phone, I know them almost right away by their voices. So, I was pretty embarrassed recently to meet a friend (a very good one at that) and not know her by her voice. In my defense, I wasn't expecting to meet her on the sidewalk as I did. She thought it was funny when I asked who she was. I was really embarrassed. But, when I meet someone out of context like that, I sometimes get confused. I suppose this happens to sighted folks too?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dinner in the dark performance.

Next week, I am storytelling for a dinner in the dark event to promote accessibility. I'm happy to do it. It amuses me slightly that this dining in the dark seems to be big business. People want to pay large chunks of money to do it. There are restaurants that specialize in it. Au noir is one in Montreal and Toronto and they also exist in Europe and I'm sure other places. It really makes me laugh to think that I do this every day in a way and that others pay a lot to do it. I would have never dreamed that this type of experience would be so highly valued.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Frustration Of Facebook

Today, I was trying to set up a facebook group. I got a ways along. Picked a name. Then it asked me to pick an icon. None labelled. Just said "link" "link" "link" I picked one. Do not know what it was. Then it asked me to add people. I did that. Then tried to go on but it would not let me. Twitter is very accessible and blind friendly. Why won't facebook listen? I've written and asked numerous times for more accessibility. Pointed out what I need. It is So Frustrating not to even get a response from them. Everyone, write to Facebook and ask for accessibility and not just for bits of the site but all of it! Okay, off my soap box now! Thanks twitter for being so accessible by the way.

European Email Draw 2012

European Email Draw 2012

We are pleased to inform you that your email has won the Internet Promotional Draws. All email addresses entered for this promotional draws were randomly inputted from an internet resource database using the Synchronized Random Selection System (SRSS).

Your email address was selected in the Category A with Code: LY875577/UK and Special Ticket: LY58212/2011-12, and this qualifies you to be the recipient of the grand prize award sum of Two million, five hundred thousand united States dollars.

The pay out of this cash prize to you will be subject to the final validations and satisfactory report that you are the authentic owner of the winning email address. In line with the governing rules of claim, you are required to establish contact with your designated claims agent via email or telephone with the particulars below:

Enquiry officer: Mr Steve Devlet
Phone: +447440430494
Email: eemailaward@yahoo.cn

You are advised to immediately establish contact with the Enquiry Officer via the e-mail address above with the information's necessary: Name: Address: Phone: Cell Phone: Email: Alternative Email: Occupation: and Special Ticket:

Failure to complete the claims of your cash prize after 14 days of this notice will result in the revision of award. Hence, you should commence your claims process immediately, by contacting the claims agent ( Mr Steve Devlet) who would be guiding you through the Claims process.

Yours Faithfully

Promotion Co-coordinator
Muffy Kibbey
N.B. Any breach of confidentiality on the part of the Winners will result to disqualification, You are to immediately contact your claims officer with this email (eemailaward@yahoo.cn)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live tweeting being blind could be an advantage.

Maybe I could get a new job? Hire myself out as the blind tweeter? It struck me the other day while reading tweets about and from the Ottawa Writers fest, that I could tweet for our upcoming storytelling festival. See link below. I can tweet live at an event with my phone screen turned off and an ear bud in my ear. Not bothering any audience. Not that I will tweet during a performance but can easily do so in the breaks and spaces. Without any problems of lighting Etc. How cool is that? I will be using the app tweetlist which is totally accessible on my I device. I'm so looking forward to the festival. Ottawa Storytelling Festival