Using Your Amazon Echo Alexa to Join Zoom Meetings

Reading Time: 2 minutes

One thing I have learned with training those who are Blind how to use accessible products, joining Zoom meeting may be a bit much for some skill levels. So, one option for those who are unable to use the Zoom app on PC, iPhone, Android or even use the phone to dial in, may use their Amazon -Echo using Alexa. If it is setup correctly, one can just say “Alexa, Join Zoom Meeting”. That’s it. Alexa will do everything else! Read on to learn how to setup this and have your friends and family join with you on Zoom!

1st Step

First you will need to have Alexa setup. There are plenty of directions on how to setup Alexa on your Echo device. However, in this setup you will need to make sure you enable phone calling and Calendar lookup. Both of these must be enabled for this to work. Alexa will look at the calendar and see there is a Zoom meeting. Then she will then call using the registered phone number and automatically enter the code for Zoom meetings.

Setup Calling and Messaging on Amazon Echo – this link is the how to guide to setup calling on your Echo. I would strongly suggest to allow Alexa to view your contacts so you can call anyone on your contacts on your Alexa.

Adding Calendars to Alexa – Here is the how to on linking up your Calendars to your Echo device. For me, Google services seem to work best for me.

Now, once everything is setup, I strongly encourage you to do a test run to see if Alexa can do a test phone call or view a calendar. If she can then you are all set!

2nd Step

Now. This is for the person who is planning on the Zoom event. It does not have to be the Host of Zoom meeting, but someone who can create a Calendar event and share it to the person with the Alexa device. All the person has to do is create a new Calendar event in their phone, tablet, computer and name it. Next, they need to copy and paste the full Zoom Invite into the Notes area. Don’t put anything else in the notes area. The Full Zoom invite will need to have the link, Zoom ID and phone numbers in it. Not the Zoom link only. Next in that Calendar invite, you will add an invite of the person with the Alexa. Add the email that is registered with Alexa. Then, save it!

Last Notes

Whoever have scheduled the Calendar invite will need to schedule the Zoom meeting. The person with Alexa cannot join before the Calendar set time. So, who schedules may want to set an earlier time if they want people to join early.

The Zoom meeting cannot have passcode or Host ID enabled for telephone calling. If these are enabled, Alexa is not smart enough to dial in. She will just hang waiting for the next command.

When the person with Alexa joins the Zoom meeting, they are responsible in muting themselves. They can do this by pressing the mute button on the left side of the Alexa device. If the Zoom host is forced to mute you, you will be able to unmute yourself with Alexa, unless you hang-up and rejoin.

It is a good idea to sit closer to Alexa, her microphone is not the best. Lastly, when you are all done with Alexa, just say, “Alexa, hang up”.

Sending Automatic Download Link for Dropbox

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Here is a simple tip for everyone. Sometimes we will need to send a Dropbox link to someone. However, when a person we send a Dropbox link, it may not understand computers enough to understand and to navigate a Dropbox website to download a file. We can remedy that. If you send a person a Dropbox link, we can just edit the link just a bit so that the person receiving the Dropbox can only click on the link, and that will start the automatic download. No need to navigate the Dropbox website. In order to do this, all you have to do is copy the Dropbox link and paste it in an email or text that you are sending. Then the very last digit is a 0. Change that to a 1 and that will start the automatic download for anyone who click on that link. Simple as that. Enjoy guys!

Proper table Manners tips

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When an individual loses their eyesight, one struggle they will need to overcome is how to eat. Here are a few tips below:

 

  1. When you are searching your glass of drink, always put your hands at low as possible so you don’t hit the top of the glass and knock it over. Always put your drink at the same place so you can find it easier. Tell your waitress and your friends at the table to put drink at same location if they refill it.
  2. When eating, you will need a pusher. You can use a knife, or a piece of bread to help “push” your food on to your spoon or fork. Imagine it like a cane that helps you map out what you have on your plate.
  3. When a friend places food on your plate and explains what is on it, he or she can use an “imaginary clock,” on the plate to describe what is there. Describe it like what you would see on a typical analog clock.
  4. When cutting a steak, use a fork to spear the meat, and use a knife to cut between the tines. You will need to use both fork and knife to map out where the edge is and estimate size of cut. Practice makes perfect!
  5. It is ok to use your hands if all else fails. I would rather use my hands than have someone spoon feed me.
  6. Always eat your vegetables! There is no excuse! Trust me, playing the Blind Man Card gets old quick.

 

Think outside of the Box

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Sometimes as a Blind person, I have to think outside the box. We are taught what is proper and what is not. For example, we should use a fork and knife to eat. But if you are unable, what do you do? Some individuals think that the ONLY way to eat is with a fork and knife. There are NO alternatives. If you are unable to do that, then life is hopeless. But wait! You CAN! You just have to try other methods to get the job done. Here is a favorite tip of mine. As a blind person, how do you put toothpaste on a toothbrush? I have gone through an entire tube of toothpaste before I realized that I don’t have to do the “proper” method that I was taught when I was little. The solution? Just keep your own tube of toothpaste and don’t share it. When you are ready to brush your teeth, just squirt a little bit in your mouth and brush away. No mess and no fuss!

People think it is impossible to vacuum or sweep floors when one is blind.  It is possible! I would suggest you walk barefoot so you can feel the floor and see if you did a good job or not. Then, when you vacuum or sweep, think of a grid pattern. Break up your rooms into smaller squares or rectangles. It will take you several weeks to get a pattern down pat.  Once you figure it out, it will come more naturally. I would also suggest you to treat a vacuum cleaner or broom like an extension to your cane. When you run your vacuum along the wall or near a couch or table, you can feel it bump along things. Last, walk around your house barefoot first to feel around to see if anything small is left on the floor.  For example: strings, shirts, debris, and so on. Establish the good habit of not throwing clothing on the floor when it is dirty.  Put things where they belong, so you won’t trip over them in the process of vacuuming or sweeping!

tips & tricks on Conference Calling

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many of us may want to call in a conference line, or do a video conference call. But for some, it can be a tedious method in dialing in the phone number and then you have to dial in the code. Here in this tutorial, we will show you an easier way to do that. If you have a Smartphone like an Apple iPhone, or an Android phone, you will be able to save your contacts with the code to call in a conference line. This makes dialing much easier. Read on to learn how.

Saving a Contact

Not a lot of people know this nifty trick, but this is the same for both iPhones and Android. If you add a comma after a phone number, there is a two second delay before the next number is dialed automatically. So, you can use your imagination in setting up your contact. You can have this setup to call in your work’s conference line for a staff meeting, or you can navigate your financial institution to check your bank balance. We are going to show you the steps to make a fictional conference number for you to save.

 

Step 1

Go to your phone’s contacts and tap on create New Contact.

 

Step 2

Go ahead and type in the Contact’s Name you want. For example, “Staff meeting Conference Line”

 

Step 3

Next let’s add a phone number. Below is what a fictional number will look like,

 

(555) 555-1234

Step 4

Now, here is the really cool part, once you type the full phone number for the conference line, you now can add the extra part where you will add the code for said line. You will first need to add a comma for that two second delay. So, below is the full number you will need to enter in which will look like this,

 

(555) 555-1234,123456#

 

Step 5

Notice I added the pound sign after that string of numbers. Most conference lines will need you to press the pound key to complete the code. Go ahead and save the contact.

 

Step 6

Test call. Now go ahead and see if you can do a test call. If it works, Woohoo!

 

Step 7

With some conference lines, you will need to press the pound key again once you say your name. So, for the above number, I will add about 4 to 5 extra commas and then add another pound key. This is how it will look:

 

(555) 555-1234,123456#,,,,,#

 

Step 8

You will may have to do a few test calls to see how many commas you will need. Sometimes it can be too long of a wait, or too short. Once you are satisfied with it, remember to save it and use it from now on. You also can share your contacts with others as a Contact Card so they can benefit from this great trick!

Conference Calling for Zoom Cloud Meetings

If you are going to call in for a Zoom Meeting, but do not want to use the Zoom application, you have the option to call in using your phone. When you get a Zoom meeting Invitation, you will received a Join website link, then below you will get a list of phone numbers you can choose from. Below that is the Zoom meeting ID, which is the code you use when you call in.

So, if you follow the above steps on how to add a conference line to your contacts, you can do the same with Zoom!  Here is an example number. If my Zoom ID is the code: 973-555-126, then  you can add in your contacts like this:

(312) 626-6799,973-555-126#,#

If you notice, the extra comma and pound sign is to start the call. At the end of putting in your code, Zoom will ask for your Participation ID. You don’t need to worry about it. Just press the pound key again. Once completed, save contact.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read the above tutorial. If you have any suggestions to add or like to ask a questions, feel free to fill out our Contact Form.

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