ACSP Online Training Course Coming Soon

Since I passed the Apple Certified Support Professional exams in the past, I have received a lot of questions about how one goes about obtaining an ACSP certificate. People have contacted me by telephone, email or when I have been at various locations doing training sessions or Apple accessibility presentations asking me about the process in preparing for the exam and about the exam itself. I would honestly say that it would be a fair estimate to guess that over forty different people have asked me about the topic of Apple certifications over the last year or year and a half alone.

I have been teaching the preparation course for people who want to prepare to take the ACSP exam over the last few years, and I believe this has now included about eight different individuals. It is a lengthy process, and one that a person must dedicate themselves to in order to pass. If you are serious about passing the exam, then you have to understand that you are going to be putting a lot of time and energy into the preparation and study process prior to even taking the exam itself. It is, moreover, for a blind person, a really impressive certification to have if they are a technical professional who desires to work in the field or who runs their own training business. Being recognized by Apple does set you above the average person who simply “calls themselves” an Apple trainer by far, as you have gone the distance in reading far more material and, more importantly passing the exam that certifies you directly from Apple as an Apple Certified Support Professional.

The exam is an 80 question multiple choice test that covers all aspects of Mac OS X Yosemite from the installation and configuration of the operating system to troubleshooting startup and shutdown issues. You learn all about the nuts and bolts of the operating system, as well as user accounts, file permissions, data management and a variety of Mac specific features. There is a training guide that one should purchase that is your companion for taking the exam, as it is all you need as far as material goes. However, it is a massively long book, and it’s not light reading either. You will need plenty of time to read the guide and digest the material in order to become ready to take the exam.

A short time ago, the folks at Fedora Outlier LLC asked me if I would be interested in joining forces to develop an online training course for those who desire to take the exam and become Apple Certified. This honestly has been something I have contemplated doing or, at least, looking into how to do over the last few years. Sadly, though, a lack of time has prevented me from doing a great deal of research into the topic, so when I was asked if I’d be interested in doing it, it struck me as a great opportunity to attempt such a thing.

There is a preparation course that Apple offers that is called, “Mac 101″, and it’s an intensive, 3 day course that covers about 25 hours. Unfortunately, you have to proceed at the speed of light to cover all of the material, and, of course, accessibility to the material for the course is surely not an easy component in that kind of environment. It was not an option that I certainly considered, which is why I opted to prepare for the exam on my own at my own pace.

Thus, Fedora Outlier and I will be offering a 30 week online course starting in August to assist those who want to obtain their ACSP. This course will cover the entire guide and we will explain and teach you the material in each of the 27 lessons as the course progresses.

As the student, you will need to simply get the Apple Pro Training Series Mac OS X Yosemite Essentials guide by Kevin White and Gordon Davidson. Also, we recommend that you do have an external hard drive on which you can install and run a “dummy” operating system so you can perform the exercises at the end of each of the lessons. If you are an iOS user, we strongly recommend downloading the free, “Revise IT” app from the App Store as well as an additional training resource, as this has practice exam questions and simulated exams you can take to help prepare you for the real deal. Beyond that, just bring your desire to learn and your willingness to prepare and take one of the most rewarding and satisfying challenges you might face in your life. Believe me from personal experience that once you pass that exam, it is a truly exhilarating and triumphant set of feelings that you will Never forget.

To read all of the information about the ACSP course, please go,
here.

Posted in Accessibility, ACSP, General, Mac OS X Yosemite | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

WWDC 2015

I finally got around to updating the
News page
of the site today. This is the information from the World Wide Developer Conference from June 8.

Personally, I don’t think there were any surprises. The next version of the Mac OS, El Capitan, was announced and features were demonstrated. This was also the case for iOS 9 and WatchOS 2 for the Apple Watch. Information about the new Apple Music service were detailed, as well as a new news app for iOS and expansions to Apple Pay.

I think I’ve said this before, but what always intriegues me is when these events take place, how many people seem to either infer or outright suggest on the blind Mac and iOS user lists that since Apple doesn’t talk about accessibility enhancements in the keynote, there won’t be any in the new Mac, iOS or Apple Watch updates. Why do people constantly assume this? To my knowledge, only once or twice did VoiceOver ever get any mention in a keynote, so why does one think this will change?

Folks, there will be updates to VoiceOver on the Mac, the iDevices and the Apple Watch. I’m astounded to read the same recycled comments every time Apple holds these events. I highly encourage blind users to try the public betas for El Capitan and iOS 9 and provide plenty of feedback. You can then see for yourself what accessibility enhancements or changes there will be, and have a voice in their evolution and involvement. That is the best way to help the continued progression of VoiceOver in Apple products.

Posted in Accessibility, App Watch, iOS 9, Mac OS X El Capitan, Mac OS X Yosemite, WatchOS 2 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Some More Apple Watch Material

For those of you interested in the Apple Watch, Matt of the Tech Juggernaut has yet an even more comprehensive podcast that takes a look at the device in even more depth.

You can go here to hear it.

I am definitely leaning more and more towards buying one of these devices. Obviously, they are not for everyone, but the more I have heard and read about it, the more I can see uses for myself.

Posted in Accessibility, General, New Category | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Info on the Apple Watch

With people receiving their Apple Watch and my interest in buying one leaning more and more heavily towards doing so, I wanted to post a few links for folks who, like me, have been on the fence and doing research.

Now that I am hearing folks use the watch and I’m reading about it, its uses for me, personally, have seemed a bit more clearer. I really wasn’t sure what to think of the watch, and, of course, I wanted to be certain accessibility would be included. I didn’t have much of a doubt about Apple doing so, but it’s always best to make sure before you plunk down any cash on buying such a device.

In any event, here are a few places to start with for anyone doing research on the Apple Watch.

In episode 82, the knights of the Maccessibility round table also do a demonstration of the Apple
Watch. I, unfortunately, could not be present for the recording, but I certainly encourage you to
listen to the episode.

David Woodbridge, in his usual informative manner, has a great podcast on the applevis.com site that deals with unboxing and setting up the Apple Watch. You can find it
here.

Matt of the Tech Juggernaut, also did a pretty comprehensive demonstration that I found quite helpful. You can go
here to listen to it.

There are many other places that are presenting demonstrations and information on the Apple Watch, so a quick Google search and frequenting the various blind iOS user resources will assist you in finding them.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another iOS Resource

A few weeks ago, Anna Dresner released an updated version of her book on using iOS to address iOS 8. The book is called, “Getting Started with the iPhone and iOS 8 : Step-by-Step Instructions for Blind Users”, and is being sold by the National Braille Press. This is a great, easy to read and follow book, and it’s definitely worth having as part of your resource material. It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner in the world of the iPhone or iPad or someone who has used the devices for a long while. In either case, you will benefit from this book.

Many people see Anna’s contributions on the visually impaired iPhone list and know she is always willing to help. I’ve known her for quite a few years now, and just as her contributions on lists are straight to the point and clearly presented, so is the information in her latest edition of her book. I highly recommend it to everyone.

To obtain more information or to purchase the book,
please go here.

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS Devices, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Introducing A New Contributor

As I indicated a short time ago, I am happy to announce that I have received an offer from someone in the community to contribute material to the site. Matthew Vollbrecht of the Tech Juggernaut, as kindly offered to help out with some articles and other material. I’ve added links to some of his podcasts in the
Demonstrations section of the page.

As some background on him, Matt is the founder of The Tech Juggernaut and has been helping both sighted and visually impaired people purchase, learn, and use their computers and other technology effectively since 1998. I’ve hd the pleasure to speak to him and he knows technology and can certainly clearly explain how to use it. He also contributes on a few of the blindness email lists related to Apple products.

You can visit his website
here.

If you would like to get in touch with Matt to inquire about the services he provides, you can reach him by email at this address,
tech@thetechjuggernaut.com

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS Devices, Mac Applications, Macintosh | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Apple Event, March 9, 2015

I’m a few days late, but the
News page was updated
with some highlights from the March 9 event held in San Francisco by Apple.

OK, so what do I think about the Apple Watch? From what was demonstrated, well, it seems like it could be a great device. I will probably buy one, though it will probably be the Sport Edition.

Of course, the question of whether or not it will have VoiceOver has been speculated on many of the email lists. Some claim because they didn’t hear SIRI speak during a part of the demonstration that it doesn’t have VoiceOver. However, keep in mind that it does have a microphone and speaker. I’m willing to bet it will have VoiceOver, though, perhaps, a trimmed down version.

As for the other products announced, the Mac Book seems like an awesome laptop. I’m not sure about the USB-C technology as of yet, and for the time being, I’m satisfied with the Mac Book Pro I use. Still, you can’t beat its thinness and the battery life for such a compact device. It’s price tag of $1299 isn’t bad either for what it does.

Of course, the Mac Book Air and Pro lines got a slight kick to processors and features. Nothing significant to my thinking, but the Mac Book Pro is going to receive the new Force Touch Trackpad that is available on the Mac Book models. You get a little more bang with your buck as well for the introductory models in either case.

I’m not an HBO subscriber, and I bought the Apple TV already. However, for $69, if you were on the fence over whether to buy the Apple TV, it’s definitely worth it. Also, I have no doubts additional services will continue to be added as time passes.

Posted in Accessibility | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Another Great Resource for VoiceOver and the Mac

For those folks looking for another good resource on learning the Mac and VoiceOver, National Braille Press has just released the newest edition of Janet Ingber’s book, Everything You Need to Know to Use the Mac with Yosemite. I was honored and humbled to have been asked by Janet to help review the book and provide feedback and suggestions.

It is a well written and easy to follow book that will assist both the new user and someone looking to augment their current knowledge of the Mac and VoiceOver. It is definitely worth to have in your possession, and I am not simply saying this because I was a very small part in the process of its release.

As the Mac and VoiceOver has grown in its popularity and use among the blind, good, helpful and comprehensive resources are becoming more and more necessary. For some reason, to my knowledge, there has not been an awful lot of books pertaining to the Mac and VoiceOver available out there. Janet does a fantastic job in addressing this need and I highly recommend it to everyone who reads this blog.

To get further information about, Everything You Need to Know to Use the Mac with Yosemite, and to purchase the book, please visit the
the NBP site.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Triple Click Home and Some Other Items

In case some folks were curious or wondering, the Triple Click Home podcast is still continuing. I am still a member of the team and episode 35 can be found
here.

I am well aware of the events that occurred with Serotek and the fallout of those events. I do not work for Serotek, and am not paid to do the podcast. So, when I was asked if I wanted to continue to record, I didn’t have any issues with doing so personally.

Of course, I surely wish my former cohosts and partners in “crime” the very best and would very much like the chance to work with Buddy or Elena or any of the other folks I had the fortunate opportunity to work with at Serotek again in the future. They are a great group of people, and I will not deny that I was saddened deeply by what occurred. Joe, Ricky, Lisa, etc, are all top notch in my opinion and I hope that I will be able to stay in contact with them.

Nevertheless, my new cohosts, Hope and Joshua, are great people too, and I look forward to working with them and Derek as time goes on. We had a blast recording episode 35, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to carry on the podcast with them. I would hope that you guys will check out the latest episode and all future ones.

Additionally, though I have not posted anything about it, I am updating the site with new documents and such. I also am going to be receiving some assistance from someone who has offered to provide some content for the site and help manage it. I will be posting more about that soon.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A Thank You to the Tech Doctor Podcast

I was honored to have been a guest on the latest Tech Doctor podcast hosted by Dr. Robert Carter and Allison Hartley. I am not one who likes to talk about myself, but in the episode, I discuss how this website came about and how I sort of fell into the world of training people on Apple products, as well as my good fortune to be contracted to work directly with Apple.

In addition, the focus of the interview was on the Apple certification process. I was asked by Robert and Allison about the overall exam and certification process from preparation to actually taking the exam. It’s not something I have had a lot of opportunity to talk about, so I enjoyed the chance to do so.

I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed being a part of it. It is an awesome podcast as its stands, and I highly encourage you to include it as part of your podcast choices. To hear the interview, please
go here.
It is the podcast titled, “Mac for the Blind Apple Certified” from January 24, 2015.

Posted in Accessibility, General | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment