[blindkid] MacBook Pro

Sally Thomas seacknit at gmail.com
Sat Feb 27 13:02:56 UTC 2010


Thanks, Steve.  I did speak with the access technology people and had a very 
interesting conversation.  There is an article in the December 2009 Braille 
Monitor which outlines a lot of the specifics of accessibility and the 
MacBook.  I haven't had a chance to read it yet but it may appeal to the 
detail oriented folks in the group.

I do understand that it would be important to know what demands the school 
has for use of technology.  One of the things the Access Tech person told me 
was that JAWS is more sophisticated in terms of style issues in word 
processing.  That's not an issue now but could become one.

I still stand by the statement that the issue is not settled about which 
computer is best for a blind child.  Right now a Windows PC might have an 
advantage but in 2 years, who knows?  There are a lot of changes going on so 
I guess it's a matter of staying informed.  We don't need a new computer 
right now so we'll be revisiting all this in a couple of years.

Sally Thomas
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Steve Jacobson" <steve.jacobson at visi.com>
To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)" 
<blindkid at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 4:33 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro


> Sally,
>
> Please consider the comments on NABS-L that suggested that seeing what his 
> school is using, both for software and hardware, is worth doing.  It may 
> make the
> decision easier, or convince you that it doesn't matter.  Either outcome 
> is best to know before you make a purchase.  I know the people in our 
> access group, and I
> don't think they can tell you much more than we have without more 
> information such as what is being used by his school and within his class, 
> and of course, one
> must look to next year as well.  How do student's write papers, how 
> specific is the instruction on word processing, do students work together 
> on a document, is he
> going to take any statistics or math classes, and so forth.
>
> Best regards,
>
> Steve Jacobson
>
> On Fri, 26 Feb 2010 11:35:20 -0600, Sally Thomas wrote:
>
>>Sorry I bumped my laptop and sent the last message prematurely.
>
>>I read a statement from Kevin Lynch, the CTO of Adobe.  He says that Adobe
>>is working on the Flash/MacBook issue.  Steve Jobs isn't happy with Adobe
>>but the issue of Flash vs. html seems to be far from finished right now. 
>>In
>>my opinion, if Apple wants to market the iPad as an educational tool, this
>>issue will need to be resolved one way or another.  There are increasing
>>advances in the way html works so it is possible that either html will
>>overtake Flash or maybe there will be advances in both.
>
>>I contacted the NABS group and the feedback I got was that right now 
>>neither
>>Windows nor the MacBook does everything.  It appears that most people use
>>Windows and a screenreader like JAWS but it doesn't appear that this is 
>>due
>>to comparing the 2 but rather because the Voice Over technology on the
>>MacBook has improved to the point that it is a more viable option now. 
>>Like
>>Dave Andrews said, different folks prefer different options.
>
>>I have a call into the Access Technology group at NFB.  They appear to be 
>>a
>>pretty busy group because their message told me to leave my question and
>>they'd get back to me within 3 business days.  If I gather any important
>>information from them, I'll share it here.
>
>>So, right now there is not a definitive answer to this question.  While I 
>>do
>>understand that many educational software providers are working in Flash,
>>this doesn't mean that Windows is best for blind kids educational needs.
>>Now I'm worried about access to things like graphs and maps.  I can just
>>hear the teachers saying "he doesn't need braille, he can just listen to 
>>his
>>books."
>
>>I keep wishing that there was one device that would do everything for my 
>>son
>>but that is not the case now.  It appears that right now, either 
>>technology
>>would work for him.  Things are changing and we'll have to see how it pans
>>out.  We just need to make it clear that access to ALL the material is
>>important to blind kids.
>
>>Sally Thomas
>
>>----- Original Message ----- 
>>From: "Richard Holloway" <rholloway at gopbc.org>
>>To: "NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)"
>><blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2010 11:44 PM
>>Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>
>
>>> The NFB actually already sued Target over web concerns back in 2006.
>>>
>>> Here is a USA Today article from when this was first filed:
>>> http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-10-25-blind_x.htm
>>>
>>> If you google Case No.:  C 06-01802 MHP you can find many details of 
>>> the
>>> NFB case and the settlement.
>>>
>>> Part of me wants to jump on board and say yes, make everyone comply  but
>>> in reality the very nature of the web makes that unrealistic or  really
>>> just plain impossible. While we may be able to get a big  company like
>>> Target to comply by law, we have to remember too that  many web pages 
>>> are
>>> setup by small groups or single individuals with  little budget or very
>>> often for no money.
>>>
>>> Many people could not afford to make existing sites compliment, and if
>>> they were forced, all they could do would be to take the site off- line;
>>> sort of the opposite result of what I think most of us would  hope to
>>> achieve.
>>>
>>> On the brighter side, I do think that over time design software
>>> improvements alone will help future sites a lot. For example when I
>>> upgraded to the CS3 release of Dreamweaver (web design software I like 
>>> to
>>> use) they had set a default to remind you to add alternative text
>>> descriptions-- something that can be easy to overlook. I really think
>>> that better educated web designers and improved software are the most
>>> probable ways that most sites are going to improve in the future.
>>>
>>> Richard
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> On Feb 25, 2010, at 3:53 PM, Albert J Rizzi wrote:
>>>
>>>> In that vein what are we as an organization  doing to educate and
>>>> mitigate
>>>> in these instances? Ignorance is bliss but it is putting our  community
>>>> at a
>>>> needless disadvantage. With all the technological advancements and the
>>>> present legislation in place how do we effectively voice our need for
>>>> attention to these details? It is simple to do yet without a law  suit 
>>>> or
>>>> a
>>>> screaming match it seems little attention is paid to our inter and 
>>>> intra
>>>> net
>>>> access needs.
>>>>
>>>> Albert J. Rizzi, M.Ed.
>>>> CEO/Founder
>>>> My Blind Spot, Inc.
>>>> 90 Broad Street - 18th Fl.
>>>> New York, New York  10004
>>>> www.myblindspot.org
>>>> PH: 917-553-0347
>>>> Fax: 212-858-5759
>>>> "The person who says it cannot be done, shouldn't interrupt the one 
>>>> who
>>>> is
>>>> doing it."
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Visit us on Facebook LinkedIn
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid- bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of Thea Eaton
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:48 PM
>>>> To: 'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'
>>>> Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>
>>>> Yes, all Flash content is accessible to JAWS, Window Eyes and Hal,  as
>>>> long
>>>> as - just like in HTML- the content is tagged and set up for
>>>> accessibility.
>>>>
>>>> Especially for older kids, I would choose a computer that can access
>>>> Flash.
>>>> Most high school textbooks are being migrated to the web, and will 
>>>> have
>>>> Flash content. We have just finished a line of accessible enrichment
>>>> activities for Harcourt School, for example, that accompany their 
>>>> online
>>>> textbooks. All these activities are on the web, in Flash and go hand 
>>>> in
>>>> hand
>>>> with their textbooks. Pearson education is also migrating their
>>>> assessments
>>>> online, in Flash. Many of their educational eBooks are also Flash 
>>>> based.
>>>> All
>>>> these learning materials will not be accessible on a Mac, because  you
>>>> will
>>>> only be limited to HTML content, which might be fine for browsing a
>>>> large
>>>> portion of the web, but any interactivity such as eBooks, learning
>>>> materials, audio and video, will be inaccessible.
>>>>
>>>> Thea Eaton
>>>> DoodleDoo
>>>> www.doodledoo.com
>>>> Where early birds learn.
>>>> 1-888-42 DOODLE
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid- bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>> On
>>>> Behalf Of Sally Thomas
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 7:04 PM
>>>> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
>>>> Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>
>>>> I'm interested in the usefulness of the Mac for older kids.  I hear
>>>> comments
>>>>
>>>> like Heather's about her friend using the Mac so I'm really  curious. 
>>>> My
>>>> son
>>>>
>>>> is past the Cartoon Network stage.
>>>>
>>>> When he was younger, Flash sites he tried to access with JAWS were not
>>>> accessible.  I guess some of it depends on how the site is  designed. 
>>>> I
>>>> am
>>>> sure that all Flash content is not compatible with JAWS.  I'm going  to
>>>> check
>>>>
>>>> with the NFB Access Technology Team as Treva suggested to check on
>>>> usefulness of the Mac for older kids.  I think the suggestion to  check
>>>> with
>>>> the student division is a good one too.
>>>>
>>>> Since it sounds like Apple is going to try to get the iPad placed as 
>>>> an
>>>> academic tool and since NFB has worked with Apple to improve
>>>> accessibility,
>>>> I think the Mac may be a serious contender for older kids.
>>>>
>>>> Sally Thomas
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>> From: "Thea Eaton" <thea at doodledoo.com>
>>>> To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'"
>>>> <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 3:49 PM
>>>> Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> Apple's Voice Over screen reader is not compatible with Adobe Flash
>>>>> content.
>>>>> Screen readers that are Flash compatible like JAWS, Window Eyes and 
>>>>> Hal
>>>>> do
>>>>> not have a Mac version. This would make all Flash websites for
>>>>> children,
>>>>> like Cartoon Network and other accessible Flash sites, inaccessible 
>>>>> on
>>>>> a
>>>>> Mac. I would therefore not recommend a Mac for children who are 
>>>>> wanting
>>>>> to
>>>>> use a screen reader to access the web.
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> Thea Eaton
>>>>> DoodleDoo
>>>>> www.doodledoo.com
>>>>> Where early birds learn.
>>>>> 1-888-42 DOODLE
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:blindkid- 
>>>>> bounces at nfbnet.org]
>>>>> On
>>>>> Behalf Of Sally Thomas
>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 12:37 PM
>>>>> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
>>>>> Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>>
>>>>> I believe that it is only the Apple mobile devices that don't support
>>>>> Flash.
>>>>>
>>>>> Sally Thomas
>>>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>>>> From: "Thea Eaton" <thea at doodledoo.com>
>>>>> To: "'NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List,(for parents of blind children)'"
>>>>> <blindkid at nfbnet.org>
>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 11:05 AM
>>>>> Subject: Re: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>> As far as I know, most of the screen readers do not run on the Mac.
>>>>>> Apple's
>>>>>> own screen reader is very limited to the OS, I think, and is not
>>>>>> compatible
>>>>>> with all internet content, like Flash. Because more and more Flash
>>>>>> content
>>>>>> is now made accessible to screen reader users, especially children's
>>>>>> content, I would not recommend getting a Mac, but a PC with an MSAA
>>>>>> compatible screen reader like JAWS.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Thea Eaton
>>>>>> DoodleDoo
>>>>>> www.doodledoo.com
>>>>>> Where early birds learn.
>>>>>> 1-888-42 DOODLE
>>>>>>
>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>> From: blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org 
>>>>>> [mailto:blindkid-bounces at nfbnet.org ]
>>>>>> On
>>>>>> Behalf Of Sally Thomas
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010 10:27 AM
>>>>>> To: NFBnet Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)
>>>>>> Subject: [blindkid] MacBook Pro
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Do any blind kids you know use a MacBook for school work?  My son 
>>>>>> has
>>>>>> an
>>>>>> iPod Touch which he loves.  He is even able to type and send email
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> it
>>>>>> despite the touch screen.  This has convinced him that a MacBook  is
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> best
>>>>>>
>>>>>> computer for him.  I'm wondering about the limitations of the  built 
>>>>>> in
>>>>>> screen reader or any other idiosyncrasies that would limit its use.
>>>>>> Since
>>>>>> it doesn't require the purchase of JAWS or other screen reading
>>>>>> software,
>>>>>> it
>>>>>>
>>>>>> might be a good choice.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Sally Thomas
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
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>>>>>>
>>>>>>
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>>>>>
>>>>>
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>
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