Here are the notes from tonight’s GTT meeting. Thanks as always to Chris Malec for preparing these!
Ian White opened the meeting with a welcome. He acknowledged all the people who regularly contribute to making the meetings happen. Contact one of us if you want to help out. He reminded everyone that you can get on the mailing list to receive updates and meeting reminders. You can email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org. Email that address to say you want to get on the list. You can email directly to email@example.com to be subscribed automatically.
Jason pointed out that we want these meetings to be interactive, so make sure to come to meetings with all your technology questions, even if they’re not related to the topic for the evening. In the second half of the meeting, people can split into groups according to interest. Also, if there are topics you’d like to know about, either one of the organizers can present on it, or find someone who knows about it and would be willing to present. You can also submit suggestions by email. Next month’s topic will be online banking, presented by someone from Scotia bank. The principles are similar across the board, so the presentation will be relevant.
Tonight’s adventure will be handled masterfully by Adam Struth, who is a technology trainer. He will help us understand the latest operating system for Apple.
Adam opened by saying he’s got a list of 10 things that are new, then he will talk about the Maps ap, then finish with some content about the Messaging ap.
- Voiceover gesture practice. Open Voiceover settings. About half way down the screen is a button for practicing gestures. This is useful if you need to jog your memory, or practice the gestures. There are General, hand-writing, and Braille options. If you swipe right, you can check out these choices. Adam demonstrated how you can perform a gesture, and Voiceover will tell you what you’ve done, and what result it will produce. The three modes are new. Each mode has its own series of gestures unique to it.
A member asked a question about deleting text. Another member described how shaking the phone prompts the phone to ask if you want to undo your dictation. When you agree, the text will be deleted.
- There is now a greater selection of voices. Adam has his set to Alex, which is a carry-over from the Mac. You can hear the new voices by opening Voiceover settings, go to speech, and you’ll find a long list of languages, voices and dialects you can choose from. There are voices of varying sizes if you’re concerned about how much space you have on your phone.
- There is now a pronunciation dictionary. Go into Voiceover settings, then under speech. There’s a button called pronunciation. This allows you to enter a text, then teach the phone how you would like to have that text pronounced. This functions exactly like the Jaws dictionary. Adam did a few demonstrations of how to do it. A member pointed out that, in the Jaws dictionary, if there’s repetitive text that you don’t want to hear, you can replace the text with blank spaces, and simply not hear the text. This function in Jaws and IOS10 is really useful for proper names.
- Automatic image description. If you’re taking pictures, Voiceover will tell you something about the image, how bright or dim it is, whether it shows people or scenery, and you can teach it to recognize particular people, and group pictures of them together in your library. A member asked whether this feature works on photos associated with Contacts in your Contacts list. No one could answer definitively. Adam showed examples in which Voiceover was able to identify a sailboat, a dog, and a pole. There was some discussion of whether this happens by default. It happens in the device not in the cloud, so it depends what phone you have also. Jason thought that you might need a 6 or better. It’s useful for telling you whether the picture is focused and well-lit. A member asked whether this will work for photos sent to you, and the general answer was probably yes. A member contributed that he thinks it works better than the Facebook equivalent.
- New sound aspects for Voiceover. In IOS10 when you lock the phone, you now get a distinctive sound affect but no words. You no longer hear either “screen dimmed,” or “screen locked.”
- There’s a new audio menu. If you open Voiceover settings, there’s a new “audio” menu. On request, Adam demonstrated doing this without Siri by finding settings, then general, then accessibility. The audio menu corrects one of Adam’s pet peeves. Before, when on a call, the speaker would switch between ear and speaker sometimes seemingly at random. Now, the “audio” menu allows you to choose never to allow the phone to go to speaker while on a call. While on a call, there’s a speaker option where the number 3 would be, and you can activate the speaker for that call without having to go into settings. It would still default to no speaker when the call is ended.
- Custom roter action. Now, individual aps can add features to the roter. Adam gave a brief description of the roter. You use a 2-finger twisting motion to choose what action you want up and down finger swipes to perform. The roter is strongly tied to the touchpad use on the Mac. For example, in the Mail ap, there’s a new roter setting called messages. Turning the roter to messages, allows you to use a swipe up or down to move between messages in a thread. A member had a question about how to locate specific messages in mail. He demonstrated going to the search field in the mail ap and entering a name, then you get a list of results. There’s also an imogy roter. He demonstrated dictating a text message. He switched to the imogy keyboard, then turned the roter to imogy, dictated the word glad, and then got a list of imogies corresponding to glad, then you can double tap on the one you want. Any ap may have new roter settings, so it’s always worth checking in aps you use regularly to see if there are new roter options. When using dictation, you can use key words which will trigger automatic inclusion of imogies to replace the words. This is unhelpful if you actually want to write out the word “smiley,” but there’s a setting you can turn on so that Voiceover will tell you when something is an imogy rather than a word. This feature, referred to as a suffix, is helpful especially when receiving messages, so that you know exactly what the message contains. You can enable the imogy suffix in Voiceover settings, verbosity. A member asked whether IOS10 is glitchie. Adam replied that he didn’t think so. He pointed out that IOS10 adoption rate in the first month was 50%, and the last Android operating system has a 20% adoption rate after a year and a half. Jason has an iPhone 7, and said he’s had little or no trouble. A member asked if it’s possible to go back to a previous version of IOS, and Jason replied that you can’t. You can usually go back for about a month after a new release; it’s hard, but you can. After that though, it’s simply not possible. A member asked if she has a 5C, does she need to upgrade. Jason replied that she doesn’t have to; it depends on what she’s using the phone for, and whether it’s working for her. That said, newer phones have a much greater processing speed.
- There’s a new and simpler way to rearrange your aps. Adam demonstrated by using the roter to select actions, then swiping up to “Arrange aps.” When you do this, the phone tells you in detail how to proceed. The process gives teuter messages as you go, instructing you how to move the ap to where you want it on your screen. It also allows you to delete aps. You can adjust the position of items on the roter to suit your preferences.
- Braille screen input. When you use this feature, your screen switches from the QWERTY keyboard to a 6-button Braille input screen. The configuration of the six buttons depends on the size of your screen. You can activate it by going to Voiceover settings, then roter. Here, you can add “Braille Screen input” to your roter. This allows you to choose to write in Braille for email, texts etc. There are built-in gestures for functions like “space” or “backspace.” www.applevis.com is a great site for blind people using iPhones. You can go there and put “Braille screen input” into the search field and get lots of information on how to use it.
- There’s now a magnifier feature. Go under settings, general, accessibility, magnifier. Activating this adds it to your options when you tap the home button three times. Adam said he’s been able to leave his hand-held magnifier at home since he discovered this. It offers color, invert, size, and contrast options. Newer phone cameras have better low-light sensitivity, which helps its accuracy. A member asked whether it can be turned on with Siri; Adam tried, but it didn’t work. It functions similarly to the camera screen.
A member said that under IOS10, he lost his email preview function. Jason replied that he thinks there’s a secret gesture. Use a 3-finger single tap on the message to read an email message preview screen.
Adam continued that: in the messages ap, there’s a difference between SMS, IMessage, and MMS. SMS and MMS are usually covered by your carrier, which makes it less important to use IMessage. IMessage now allows you to record audio messages. There are also new visual options for adding hand-writing or finger sketches. IMessage is definitely faster for sending images and video. The colour schemes are different too. IMessage only works if all the recipients have I devices. All these additions mean that the text box and send button are smaller, which may affect how you navigate the message screen.
Adam opened the maps ap and showed how you can choose what kind of directions you want. There are tabs along the bottom for various modes of travel. Uber is now included on the maps screen. It knows where you are, and shows Uber options based on your location. You must have the Uber ap installed already, and of course you have to have your GPS tracking turned on.
Jason said that an Uber representative might be coming to present at GTT in the New year. A member pointed out that Uber can be used with Siri now, but Jason pointed out that it might not have your correct location, so it’s necessary to check, and maybe text the driver.
Jason, Adam and Aamer were pointed out as focusses for groups in which members could come informally to ask technical questions.