[blindkid] apple netbooks

SUSAN POLANSKY sepolansky at verizon.net
Mon May 21 23:53:51 UTC 2012

Our son is a high school sophomore honors student who has used a Samsung net book for several years. All we did was put in some extra memory and got an inexpensive external drive. This particular net book was recommended to us by several staff from the Jernigan Institute including one from the technology center. It runs JAWS just fine. I would suggest calling or emailing the technology center for advice. 

Susan T. Polansky

 From: Richard Holloway <rholloway at gopbc.org>
To: "Blind Kid Mailing List, (for parents of blind children)" <blindkid at nfbnet.org> 
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2012 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: [blindkid] apple netbooks
I would suggest you hit the brakes a bit and do some hands on research. I am a huge Apple fan and could hardly live without my MacBook and iPad. With that said, the MacBook is QUITE diffent than using a PC.

You're speaking of "netbooks", and this may just be a confusion of terms. MacBooks are NOTEbooks, as are more substantial PC laptops. "Netbooks" are almost better referred to as mini-laptops. They have less processing power, don't have room for a CD or DVD drive, etc, and I wonder how well they are suited to even run JAWS. These are PC's in the $150 to $250 range. they are targeted for web applications almost entirely. Chances are you'll want more power than a netbook offers if that is your only machine at home.

You mention PowerPoint. You'll need to buy that, and better to buy MS Office than PowerPoint and word and excel (etc.) one at a time. Student deals are in the $100-something range for office, but right off the bat, that is software that may not be ideal for a netbook. If you buy anything on CD or DVD, you'll have to buy an external drive to load it.

Compare more in the mid-range of PC notebooks to Apple PowerBooks and see what works best. Cheap notebooks may not included a CD/DVD drive either, a check before you buy. If you have to interact with other machines, make certain you're on the same platform (PC vs Mac) or confirm that you can cross documents between the two. (PowerPoint should cross. It may have more small issues with things like fonts aka typefaces, when you change from Mac to PC)

If you will need support, consider what those people supporting your needs are familiar with. They may support Mac and PC, but if they are PC only people, for example, who will help with your new Macintosh?

Of corse, JAWS is a $1000 screen reader. Some would argue that there are free PC screen readers that would work as well for you. VoiceOver is nice, but has some limitations as well. Someone else here called it a nice work in progress. I agree entirely.

Have the tech folks at school offered any suggestions for what would work best which would make things as similar for your son at home as possible to what it in use at school?

Is there any chance you'll be at national convention to see machines working with JAWS loaded and to look at various setups? A local Mac dealer can demo VoiceOver for you. If you can use a PC where you can load software to demo, you could also load a JAWS demo for free.

Do all you can to learn hands-on before you buy, because what works for one of us us may not be best for your situation. Hope that helps a little bit.



Sent from my iPad

On May 21, 2012, at 4:49 PM, Rosina Solano <colemangirly at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Okay, I stated that I am looking for a netbook for my son for high school.  I have also been advised to not jump into the ipad arena just yet, that he needs to learn the computer skills first.  I am okay with that.  Now I am wondering about apple versus other netbooks.  I know that there is a big price difference.  My idea is that is comes installed with Voice Over.  If I get a netbook then I also have to get JAWS for a screen reader.  So I am just wondering if using the apple netbook will do the same as any other computer.  I see that it is compatable with his braille sense plus.  So I am just looking for which way to go and why.  He needs to be able to email his homework directly to his teachers and get it back.  To do powerpoint presentations, etc.  He already has good braille skills and uses an abacus extremely well.  He does well in school, but we are WAY behind in the tech dept.  We live rural and so do not have it at home either, so
> this is all new for all of us.  No cell phones, no ipods, nothing tech other than his braille sense.  I use internet several times a week at the local library, but if we get him going we plan on getting internet at home.  This is very overwhelming for us so please talk plainly. 
> Thanks;
> ********************************************
> Rosina Foster
> www.tadpoleacres.webs.com
> MOPBC Missouri Parents of Blind Children
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