Thoughts about WWDC

I have had a few days to digest everything that Apple announced at the WWDC keynote, as well as having read a lot of the reactions from various Mac and Apple related websites. To me, Tim Cook and company did a fantastic job, and from the opening part of the keynote using SIRI to tell jokes, it was an entertaining and grand display only Apple seems to be able to do so well. I really wish I had been present.

The new Mac Book Pro with the retina display is a truly awesome machine. I think Apple hit the ball out of the park again. It will be amazing and amusing to see how the PC laptop makers scramble to come out with the “Mac Book Pro” killers and badly fail as they have tried in attempting to match the Mac Book Air. The only “downside” to the model is that it is pricy and, to me, is a bit out of my range for my purposes of upgrading my current MBP.
Read all about the new Mac Book Pro here.

The standard Mac Book Pro line and the Mac Book Airs have been updated as well. They now all use the Intel Ivy Bridge processors, and I believe I will be getting a 13 inch MBP some time soon. From a practicality standpoint for my situation, this is the best choice, though I will be opting for the SSD storage instead of physical hard drive. I found it interesting that some folks were surprised that Apple retired the 17 inch Mac Book Pro model, as this was a very strong rumor sited in a number of places over the last month or two. Continue reading

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What to Expect at WWDC from Apple?

On Monday, Apple will be holding their yearly World Wide Developer Conference, and as usual, there is a lot of speculation and excitement surrounding the event. At 1 O’clock Eastern time, the keynote address will take place, and what will be announced and highlighted are the topics of countless rumors and guessing.

For me, I am particularly interested. I don’t normally buy into the rumor mill and all of the talk that goes on about what Apple will or will not do because people tend to be wrong in many of the cases. However, this year, I really have been paying attention, and I really can’t wait until Monday afternoon. I think there are some good educated guesses, and based on the banners that are already up, it appears that we can expect a few obvious items to show up during the keynote address. Continue reading

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Updates, 5/31/12

It’s been quite a while, but there is now the 15th episode in the Mac for the Blind Audio Demonstration Series. It was not really intended as an official demonstration, as I was really messing with the Piezo recording application, but I decided to add it to the series. It is a demonstration of Serotek’s DocuScan Plus OCR product of the Mac, and it covers scanning a document, as well as the other features available in the products. As usual, you can find it on the
Demonstrations page.

In addition, I have also added an RTF version of the Getting Started with VoiceOver in Lion manual. You can find it on our
Documentation page should you want it

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Updates, 5/19/12

This is just a quick note to let folks know that I have not forgotten about the site or anything of that nature. After the whole ACSP preparation and exam taking process, I have found myself a bit tired and mentally burnt out. ON top of that, I have been training folks and doing some non-accessibility stuff to make a living that have kept me tied up as well.

With that said, though, I will be getting back to trying to put some additional material up. Also, the Audio Demonstration series will continue. I have just not decided what I will cover next. So many people have put up some great podcasts on iOS in places like the applevis site, and I don’t want to reinvent the wheel by covering the same material. Thus, I am not sure if I should go back to the Mac, find some other areas of iOS to present or simply wait until Mountain Lion is released.

It may be a few more weeks, but things will be progressing here. So, please stay tuned. As always, I very much encourage and desire contributions and help from the community. So, if you have articles, podcasts, demonstration instructions or the like that you’d like to share, please let me know. I can’t stress enough how much I want Mac for the Blind to represent the blind Mac and iOS device user community.

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The ACSP Journey Has Concluded

Why I am writing this post

Let me just make this clear at the start that this post is not intended as any sort of bragging or boasting or anything along those lines. My story about my journey to take and pass the Apple Certified Support Professional exam for Mac OS X Lion is, hopefully, to serve two purposes. Firstly, if there are other blind folks interested in doing the same thing, this will help to encourage and inspire them. Secondly, even if you don’t ever intend on taking an Apple certification exam, I hope that this will convince you that, no matter what kind of goal you set for yourself, don’t sell yourself short by believing that there is no way to achieve it because it doesn’t seem “realistic” to reach as a blind person.

I will begin by plainly stating that the ACSP exam was the most challenging and intense exams I’ve ever taken in my life. I knew it would be difficult and that a lot of preparation would be needed, but I had no idea just how hard the exam would prove to be. I had always thought that the exam I took for my Certified Social Work license had been the toughest test I had taken until I took my Black Belt test in 1994. That had been an overall much more challenging exam because of the mental and physical drain. However, despite the ACSP exam not having the physical element to it, I still felt as if I had gone through all of the aspects of the Black Belt test by the time I completed the last of the 80 questions.

Somehow, by the grace of God, when the smoke cleared and it was all over, I had passed the exam and some three months of preparing and studying had paid off for me. I will try to describe the preparations that I took in achieving my goal, as well as advising you on what worked and what will not work for you. I never took an exam like this before, and some felt that I over prepared for it. However, sitting here now, every moment and choice I made I feel was worth the effort and the time I spent getting myself ready. I hope to provide you with some tips and sound advice should you decide to take the same journey by the time I am done writing this post. Continue reading

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Mozilla Firefox Nightly Builds Now Include VoiceOver Support in Mac OS X

According to the latest news from the Mozilla folks, the nightly builds for Firefox now include support for VoiceOver in Mac OS X. I have downloaded it, and though it is clearly in its early stages, it’s really exciting and pleasing to see the effort these folks are putting into accessibility. I will post a link to the blog post here and keep in mind the performance issues Marko points out. I would strongly recommend downloading it and really giving it a good run, reporting as many bugs as you can find so they can be dealt with.

Go here for the blog post and all of the information, including a download link.

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Flashback Checker Info

For those folks who are worried about the question of whether their Mac might have that Flashback malware that received press last week, Macworld has an article that includes a link to a free application that will check your system for you. If you are not comfortable using Terminal to run the commands some places have offered to check your system, this app might be for you. I tried it out and it is completely accessible. Just open the Flashback Checker application after you download it, VO-space on the, Check For Flashback Infection, button, and VO Right arrow to the results, which can be read with VoiceOver.

In the article, there is a link to the webpage for the Flashback Checker, and there is a download link there for the application. The article can be found,

here.

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Updates, 4/9/12

It’s the first time that I’ve had some time to work on the website with a full day’s worth of attention. Thus, I have added updates to several pages with additional information. This includes the
Tips and Tricks for the Mac page
and the
Training and Support page.
As usual, my thanks to those who have given me permission to post their material from the various user lists. This includes Mr. Lewis Alexander, who presents a really nice post on advice for dealing with non-Mac media formats on the Mac. I am grateful for his permission to add that to the site.

Podcasts will, hopefully, be coming soon. I am still in the process of studying for the ACSP for Lion Essentials exam, and have been busy with training jobs. However, I plan to do a podcast on a few apps for the iDevices and a return to the Mac with a VoiceOver Utilities overview.

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Thoughts on the New iPad

It took a little longer than I initially had in mind, but I finally purchased the new iPad last week. I have, of course, been using it regularly, and, for example, have transferred all my study material for the ACSP OS X Lion Essentials exam.

Firstly, though, let me get a question out of the way that I frequently read on the various blind Mac and iDevice user email lists. I can’t tell you how many times this has cropped up over the last few years, and I’m always fascinated by the range of responses that are offered. That question has to do with whether someone should buy an iPad if they already own an iPhone or a laptop of some kind.

My basic philosophy is this. If you are happy with what you have, then don’t buy an iPad. Some folks can do with just an iPhone or can get tasks done with their laptop, and buying an iPad might be an expense that is too much to justify.

On the other hand, the iPad, to me, is an amazing device that simply cannot be categorized. When I am asked to explain why an iPad is more advantageous to use over a laptop, it is difficult for me to really put my comments in words. You really have to use an iPad to discover what a fantastic device it is, and then you will figure out how this little beastie cannot be accurately categorized or compared to a laptop or net book.. Continue reading

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Update, 3/12/12

As a quick update, I added the user guide for the iPhone and iOS 5.1 to the
Documentation page.

As a side note in relations to the documentation, the RTF files for the Apple manuals might load slowly in your word processor application of choice. I am assuming this is a product of converting them from PDF, but I’ve noticed that the RTF versions take a few seconds to load into Text Edit on the Mac.

More to come soon as time permits. Again, as I have written here a bunch of times, I welcome any help with contributions and podcasts. I would like nothing more than to have other community members assist and contribute here.

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