Minutes of September 2014 VIBUG meeting

Where: MIT, 77 Mass. Ave., Building 5, Room 134, Cambridge, MA
When: September 13, 2014

President Amy Ruell called the meeting to order at 1:00 PM. All present introduced themselves. Amy said Nora is unable to be here today, and treasurer Bob Resnick is also not able to be here, but Amy will accept dues payments if anyone would like to pay today.

Secretary Jerry Berrier read the minutes of our June 2014 meeting. They were accepted without change.


Election of VIBUG officers will be held at the November meeting. The nominating committee consists of Jeffrey Turner, Mikka Pyhkala, and John Smith, with Amy serving in a non-voting advisory capacity. Interested members are welcomed and encouraged to run for office. The nominating committee will present their slate of officers, but nominations will also be taken from the floor.

In November, Jeffrey Turner will talk about VoiceDream, and Jerry will do an Excel class sometime in the next couple of months. Amy said we will also have a GPS comparison program soon. She invited folks to suggest new topics to the programs committee, which consists of Amy, Al Sten-Clanton, Maria Rueters, David Kingsbury, and Jennifer Harnish.

Amy mentioned upcoming training in Worcester being done by David Kingsbury, and we discussed organizing more training opportunities in the Boston area. Helen Kobec will provide Amy with contact information for the Cambridge Library, which has a number of screen reader and screen magnification-equipped computers that may be available to us.

We discussed whether to purchase a computer to replace an older inadequate Netbook we currently have as a second computer. There was consensus among those present that, while we donít need a second computer for our regular meetings, it may be a very good idea to purchase a Mac of some sort that people could use to learn on. It was pointed out that Windows could also be installed on it. Amy took a voice vote on purchasing a MacBook Air. There was only one opposing vote.

A motion was made and seconded that we should hold future events only at venues that are wheelchair accessible. The motion passed with one opposing vote. We recognize that it may be a challenge to provide low-cost events at venues that are fully accessible. We could contact the Mass Office on Disabilities with questions regarding specific places.

David said he probably will not be available on the weekend in January when we typically hold our holiday party. Nina volunteered to assist. Anyone wishing to recommend a place for our Holiday Party should contact Nina at nina@littlebreezes.com.

A motion was made and passed to donate $100.00 in memory of Professor Seth Teller from MIT. The donation will go to the Seth Teller Memorial Fund, specifically established to promote student activities related to research and development of technology for people with disabilities.

Amy gave a brief update within the confines of her non-disclosure agreement on testing of the Comcast accessible cable box. She said it is a work in progress.

Amy provided numerous industry updates that occurred since our last meeting; information on some of those will be on the VIBUG website.

Amy still has free splitters for anyone who needs them for the Square card reader iOS app.


Mikka talked about alternate transportation providers in the Boston area that use mobile apps, and he gave out braille and large print copies of coupon codes. He discussed Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and Halo. At our October VIBUG meeting, David Kingsbury will discuss a new commuter rail app.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 PM.

Jerry Berrier