Updates, 1/26/12

Yes, I know it’s been a while, certainly a lot longer than I expected. However, finally, I have finished the next episode of the Audio Demonstration Series. As usual, it can be found in the
Demonstrations page.

I have turned my attention to iOS and, specifically, the Siri Assistant on the iPhone 4S. It is not a detailed demonstration, but I cover some basics and discuss a VoiceOver bug in Siri that has been brought up on the viPhone email list.

In addition, I have added some additional information to all of the Tips and Tricks sections of the site
and the
How To pages.

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Updates, 1/10/12

Happy New Year to all. I hope this post finds everyone starting off the new year on a positive note and with high expectations for 2012.

To start off the new year for Mac for the Blind,, I have tweaked the
Links page
with some minor updates and corrections to a few broken links.

I’ve also updated the information in the
Demonstrations page
in regard to the new place where one can find Recaardo Walker’s podcasts on using Garage Band 6 with VoiceOver and his Apple to the Core Podcast. He has moved his valuable resource,

Keep checking back for some updates to other parts of the site and a continuation of the Audio Demonstration Series.

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Updates, 12/23/11

The only recent updates to the site were a few added links on the
Links Page.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to wish everyone a happy holiday season, a merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year. Thus far, I have not been able to get my iPhone demos to work acceptably for a podcast, as I cannot get Siri to record well. However, I must also add that I really have not done a lot of work on that and probably won’t get to do so until after the holidays.

In any event, I also wanted to thank everyone who accesses this site and who have kindly written me about it. It is the encouragement and kind words from many of you that has enabled me to keep up my enthusiasm and dedication to maintaining it. Without the community, this site would not be possible, so, once again, my most sincere gratitude to you all for your support. I have plenty of ideas for things next year, so God willing, there will be some additions and other features coming.

John Panarese

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Updates, 12/15/11

I added a Braille version of the VoiceOver Getting Started with Lion manual, which Apple has available on their site. It comes in 3 volumes and can be read with a Braille display supported by VoiceOver. It is, as usual, in the
documentation page
of the site.

It isn’t Apple related, but I thought it was worth mentioning. Serotek, makes of the System Access screen reader for Windows, just announced a special program that is available for American veterans. The program, SAMNet Vets, gives a lifetime membership to their System Access Mobile Network for qualified veterans, and those interested can send in an application. You can read the press release from Serotek

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Updates, 12/12/11

A lot of people have asked me if there is a resource for finding out what apps are accessible on the Mac with VoiceOver. There used to be a database for this, and there have been a few folks who tried to take up such an undertaking as far as creating an active list.

I was happy to hear that the folks at the Applevis site are now going to include Mac apps, as well as iOS applications. You can read the announcement

Ricardo Walker has added another podcast on Garage Band. I have added a link to this on the
Demonstrations page.

Finally, no, the Audio Demonstrations are not dead. I still intend to do some others as well as add some other content to the site. Unfortunately, with the holidays, I am finding time to be a problem, as I am also trying to make a living doing a variety of tasks. I can’t promise anything significant over the next few weeks, but I will try my best.

Again, as always, contributions are certainly welcome, and if anyone has articles or information or just feels like writing, please feel free to contact me.

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Thoughts About the Apple Time Capsule

The Time Capsule is the highest end of the “Airport” devices Apple has to offer. In essence, the Time Capsule is a combination backup system and router, which is a great solution for someone who needs both of this functionality in a single device because of its convenience. The Airport Express, and Extreme Base Station, are the other two devices Apple has to offer, the Extreme being great for streaming music to a stereo system through iTunes, and the Extreme being like a Time Capsule without a built-in hard drive.

I will start off by saying up front that the Time Capsule is not for everyone and because of its ?$399 and $499 price for a 2 or 3 TB drive respectively, it might be a bit too expensive for most folks to invest in. However, for me, I was looking for a simple solution for backing up both my Mac Mini and Mac Book Pro that would decrease the number of wires and connections required to do so. I have collected 2 external hard drives over the years, both being Lacy drives with one being a 500 GB model and the other being a 2 TB model. However, swapping cables between my USB hub to my computers and a Firewire connection to boot just was getting tiresome, and I was contemplating the Time Capsule option for a while. I had bought an Airport Extreme Base Station about two years ago to replace my router when it died, so I was quite familiar and happy with using an Apple router for my home network.

Apple’s Black Friday deals gave me the incentive to go through with the purchase. There was a reduction in the 3 TB model of the Time Capsule, and I had some Apple gift cards from family for my birthday to use as well. Thus, my wallet didn’t take a seriously significant hit when all was said and done. I will admit that it wasn’t a necessity to buy the Time Capsule right now, and I had originally planned to do so in the spring, but I noticed the price reduction when I was browsing on Black Friday, and the temptation got the better of me. I also had some money put aside from Mac training that I had done, which merely eased the choice for me. Continue reading

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Happy Thanksgiving to All

I wanted to wish our readers and everyone who ventures across this site a very happy and safe Thanksgiving for those who are celebrating the American holiday tomorrow. I would advise not too eat too much or overdo it, but since I most likely am going to do so myself, it wouldn’t be worth even mentioning it ….

It is those of you who have found this site to be helpful and who have written me to tell me so who make this effort worth continuing. I’m glad that folks are getting something out of the site, and I will be, of course, adding more as I can as I stumble across it. This is, as I have said, a labor of love, so I can’t always add updates as regularly as I would like. Still, I have plenty of things I am working on and will be adding them as time permits.

Lastly, also something I have repeated here a bunch of times, it is the community effort that counts the most and what makes Macfortheblind what it is. Thus, if you would like to contribute either by writing something yourself or sending something along to me that has helped you, I truly welcome it. Also, if you have links to other useful and helpful sites or to podcasts I have missed, please feel free to drop me a line through the,
Contact Us Page.

I thank you for continuing to visit this site and for making my humble effort worthwhile to maintain and expand.

John Panarese

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Update, 11/20/11

It’s been a while, but a new episode for the Macfortheblind Audio Demonstration Series is available. This is a brief demonstration on Address Book. It is, as usual, not at all meant to be comprehensive or detailed. It covers just the basics and is only meant to help folks get started and understand how Address Book works and can be an effective tool.

You can find it on the
Demonstrations page.

In addition, I added an update to the Braille commands list for using a Braille display with an iDevice. This now reflects iOS 5, and is taken from Daniel GĖ†ransson’s AxS Lab page. It is quite detailed and a great document to possess if you are a Braille user. You can find it

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Updates, 11/11/11

I’m sure most folks are aware that Apple released their first update to iOS 5 yesterday. This was mainly to address the battery issues some users were reporting, but the iOS 5.01 update also has brought the multitasking gestures available on the iPad2 to the original iPad. This was also the first update that one could do “over the air” or without the need to connect to ones computer to do so. In my case, it went without a hitch and it took only about ten minutes in total.

I have also added a few more documents to the
Documentation page.

This includes an update to the Garage Band 6 tutorial Keith Reedy of
icanworkthisthing.comhas helped to write.

In addition, there is also now a keyboard commands list for Mac OS X Lion. This information was taken from an updated Apple knowledge base article.

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The iPhone 4S and iOS 5; My Perspective

My Transition from the 3GS to the 4S

A lot has been written in many many places about the iPhone 4S, and several people have shared their experiences with the latest smart phone from Apple as well. So, I figured that I might as well do so and throw out my own thoughts. I finally received my iPhone 4S last Friday, the 28th of October, and I have now been using it continually since then.

It seems like yesterday when I bought my iPhone 3GS, though it is now about two and a half years since it became the first accessible version of the iPhone and I preordered it. I can clearly recall having to really learn how to use the touch screen by fire, as at the time I got the phone, my father ended up in the hospital for about a week. I was the central point of contact for my family for passing along news, and, thus, I had to learn to type on the virtual keyboard and get used to using the phone right away with no time to play and experiment with it. Although the circumstances left a lot to be desired, it proved to be a good way for me to get acclimated to the iPhone and teach myself to use it effectively. I can still recall sitting in a corner of my father’s hospital room with one of my brothers shielding me from view of the nurses and staff while I typed a text or quietly phoned one of my other family members, as using cell phones in that part of the hospital was frowned upon.

From that point on, the 3GS became a faithful friend I carried on me a good deal of the time. It was musing to me because I could remember some of my sighted friends and family commenting on how their iPhones had become like “a part of them” and a device you found yourself unable to live without. I used to tease them when I heard them make such remarks, but within a few months, I had found myself feeling the same way as them about my 3GS. I literally couldn’t put the thing down at times and even used it when I was in bed.

Thus, I must confess, that I upgraded to the iPhone 4S with a great bit of sadness in me. As crazy as that sounds, having been through so much with that phone, I really felt bad giving it up. Fortunately, my old, faithful friend will now serve my sister in-law, so it does still have a good home and will continue to be used as regularly as it served me. Continue reading

Posted in Accessibility, General, iOS Devices, iPhone | 3 Comments