Considering switching completely to a mac, can I do the following efficiently?
I apologize for the long rambling post.
I've been fiddling around with a fully configured 17 inch macbook pro for the last few months and am
considering switching over for most if not all of my computer tasks. Part of the problem as others I'm
sure struggle with is that I've been using windows for around 20 years now and am 100 times more
efficient with it, using jaws, NVDA etc. I do understand that with time and practice, just as with
anything, someone can be efficient on the mac as well. The following is what I want to be doing, any
thoughts and comments on equivalent mac apps are appreciated. I am willing to pay a little money as
long as the app can be installed on as many machines as possible.
Browsing the internet: The only thing that bothers me so far about safari is that when reading a large
amount of text, vo plus left/right arrow separates blocks of it in to very long paragraphs. I understand
this is how voice over treats web elements, I guess the only way around it is to navigate by line with
up/down arrow inside of each paragraph? I am having a hard time with this because of the cursor
movement and it adds a few extra keystrokes, as I am use to reading in smaller chunks with up/down
arrows in windows.
E-mail: Looks good so far with a g-mail account, easy to get around to separate folders etc. Only
thing I've noticed is that VO doesn't label messages as unread, replied to, contains attachments when
moving through the inbox as outlook does. That doesn't really bother me as I don't have much mail to
keep track of but I'd still like to know if it could be done. I'd also like to create rules for things such as
messages from mailing lists or individuals being put in their own folder and the ability to send a
message to multiple people with out entering in multiple addresses every time. I would assume for the
ladder, I would just create a contact with all addresses entered in it.
Productivity: Looks like pages and numbers are all I would need since I mainly work with word and
excel. I won't be doing anything fancy, just some formatting and formulas.
Twitter: I'm currently using an older client called the Cube, mainly because it lets you browse items
with control plus windows plus arrow keys in the background no matter what application you are in. I
don't post that much but I enjoy keeping up with news and not having to be in an application to do so
Media playback and conversion: I've been using winamp since it was first released and have never
needed to switch. I would like a player that can play all files in a folder, has good keyboard shortcuts,
can either play by default tons of file formats (including midi) or have them added, as well as stream
stations from places like shoutcast or urls in general. Maybe VLC will work? I also enjoy listening to
video game music from nintendo, sega etc and I found players that will play these special formats, will
just have to try them for accessibility.
I use NCH switch sound file converter for audio and their prism video converter for video. I saw that
switch is out for the mac so I will use that if it is accessible. I will mostly be converting files to mp3 as
well as mp3s between various bit rates. I also would like a program like sound taxy that will convert
protected WMA and any other files that play through windows media player. I assume quick time is
apples equivalent? I also really don't like itunes but mainly that is because all of my music is organized
in artist/album folders, lots of it isn't tagged and from what I've seen, itunes doesn't handle untagged
/files well at all.
Sound editing: Since 2003, I've been using sony sound forge with the purchase of Jim Snowbargers
jaws scripts. They are a spectacular addon with their own as well as sound forges keyboard shortcuts.
What I most like about them is they let you move through audio while it's playing with the left and right
arrows, with length being adjusted with up and down. I haven't seen any editors that can do that,
although I have only tried goldwave. I guess audasity would be what I'd want? I will most likely be
recording voice over top of music for an online radio show. I compose as well using CakeWalk sonar
with the CakeTalking jaws scripts but I won't get in to that at this time. It scares the crap out of me just
thinking about selling old and buying new music equipment to switch to a mac, mixers,
software/hardware instruments etc.
Audio games/other games/console emulation: It looks like windows is the way to go here. I do have a
bootcamp of windows going but the battery will last 3/4 hours at the most, compared to the 10/11
hours with brightness at 0 and screen curtain on. The reason it seems is because the higher end
macbook pros contain intel graphics as well as an nvidia graphics card. Looks like the bootcamp
drivers stick with the nvidia card in windows and won't let you switch to intel. That's ok though, I
know that there are trade offs and you can't have it all in a single machine.
I received the Mac as a gift, otherwise I might've chosen the 13 inch macbook air. I am incredibly
impressed however by the speed so far, especially boot up time. If I can do all if not most of what I
mentioned above, I'd love to stick to the mac side. I'd rather have an OS that is stable and if crashes,
speech it would seem would be still available, although NVDA is quite good at restarting if something
Thank you again for any apps and suggestions.
It is my understanding that Garage Band is the way to go here. I haven't used it though.
You seem to be right on the nose with most of this - Audacity is a good editor, Safari works that way and takes getting used to, VLC is indeed what you'd want, the iWork apps are indeed the best choice (though you may find Text Edit to do a good job at basic formatting). As to the ones you weren't sure about:
- YoruFukurou is the Twitter client of choice. It is an app and has no global shortcuts.
- Audacity is my choice for an audio converter. It won't do batches, but aside from that it works well and gives you control over the output format. There are other converters, though.
- I find Mail does tell me the message status. The unread information moved in Mavericks, but I get everything else. You may also want to try using Classic Layout (Mail preferences > View). In there, you can even interact with the messages table, hit vo-shift-backslash, and then drag and drop headers to move the columns around.
You might also want to check out the page for those new to the Mac, on the homepage of this website, for more articles and discussions on switching to the Mac.
I use Safari and Google Chrome for web browsing on my Mac, and I like both. I actually had a bit of trouble installing Chrome, so my sighted life-skills tutor helped me out. But Chrome does seem to be a bit faster. I'm pretty sure you can just do a Google search for it, I've forgotten where exactly I obtained it. But it seems to work pretty well with VoiceOver. I also have Chromevox, a Chrome extension developed by Google in-house. The website for that is http://www.chromevox.com . It works okay, but some of the voices seem to cut off in the middle of a page. I only got my Mac last year after Christmas, and haven't really done much besides web browsing and email. I like the default mail client on here.
Thanks @mehgcap, I will try those mail suggestions as well as that twitter app. I also don't know how I feel about alex, the pronunciation just seems a little off, especially at the end of the last word when reading a long block of text. I will probably grab the better quality voices but for me, eloquence, double/triple talk and the 90's hardware versions of dectalk will always be my favorite speech synths.
I am using Sound Forge Pro Mac 2 which has been out about a year. I can do all the functions that I once did with Sound Forge for Windows. I used the Windows version with the Snowbarger scripts for years. The app works well with VoiceOver natively. The manual is very visual and written from the perspective of using a mouse but, all functions are found in the menus and there are about 175 hot keys for various functions. The hot keys are re-assignable. VoiceOver can read the loudness meters, markers can be accessed using the number row of the keyboard. There's more functionality than in the Windows version and Maverick operates flawlessly. It was designed by Mac users, and is not a Windows clone. If you are in to serious sound recording and editing, this is the one. I have used Audacity, Garage Band, Amadeus Pro and Audio HIJack and there is no comparison. It's $299. and is only usable on one computer. Registration and authorization is online. There is a free 14 day fully functional demo readily available from Sony.