mini mac desktop

I am considering in buying a mini mac desktop. I would like to know thaughts on this. It is coming with lion, this is where I am abit lost. I need help here understanding can I eventually upgrade. Does anyone use atmini mac desktop? Will I need sighted help setting it up? Am I going to have to purchase a n apple keyboard in order to use it, or can I use mycurrent one temperarllyyAny help would be great I thank you all for your help in advanced.

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Getting Along with the Mac Mini

First, I don't use a Mac Mini myself, but know a few people who do. As far as upgradability goes, you should be able to run Mountain Lion fine if the machine is shipping with Lion by default. If the machine is used and has Lion on it from an earlier upgrade, I would check Apple's compatibility site. It just depends on your budget and what hardware specs you want in your computer. As far as accessories, I am not totally sure about the Apple keyboard thing. I would imagine most Windows keyboards would work, but the layout/mapping would be different. The thing I would highly recommend would be the Apple Magic Track Pad. It is the same price as the keyboard. If you are used to iOS, this will make your transition all the smoother and can aid in navigating around the screen. Plus, I just think it's really cool that the trackpad on my laptop is actually usable to me and not just sitting there. There used to be one major caveat to owning a Mac Mini for a blind person: the monitor. You would have to trick the Mini into thinking a monitor was connected. There are a couple workarounds for this, but I am not the person to ask. It can be done, though. As far as setting it up independently, it would be just like any other Mac; VO will start right out of the box if you boot up and let the computer assume you can't see it. Think the Mac Mini is a good decision; at the low end, it is the cheapest Mac. Hope this helped somewhat, and welcome to being a Happy Apple Person. Oh, Mike Origo has a few blind cool tech podcasts. I think one of them might be on the older Minis.

thoughts on keyboards and the mini in general

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

First, most any usb or bluetooth keyboard should work. I have a mini and use a cheap usb keyboard I got at the local Wal-Mart. It has the usual windows layout, but it works just fine. Regarding setup, yes, vo will work out of the box. However, this is only true if:
  • you have a hard-wired keyboard; bluetooth requires pairing, which requires the mouse, which means you can't press cmd-f5 to enable vo until you pair it with the mouse.
  • you have an apple-style usb keyboard. I have found that most windows-style keyboards require a setup process before they will work, which only takes a moment but is needed before you can use the keyboard to enable vo.
So, my suggestion is to have a sighted person on hand just in case, but once your keyboard is working they probably won't be needed. As to a monitor, some say you need one, and some say you don't. I have no clue which models do an don't require a screen, but my mid 2011 definitely does, and it has when running both 10.7 and 10.8. You can find a Mini Display Port adapter for VGA or DVI, assuming the mac is new enough to include a Mini Display Port (also called Thunderbolt), or use the included DVI to HDMI adapter if your monitor happens to use DVI. Note that there are two types of DVI, type D and type I; I don't recall which type the adapter is, but you will want to check that it is the proper type for your monitor if you plan to use it. As to upgrading the operating system, it depends on the mac. My 2011 can run ML just fine, but I have a used Mini from 2007 that can only manage Lion. If you are buying this used, it depends on how old it is already. As was said in the previous comment, have a look at the compatibility page to be sure the system can take it. If it can, ML is just $20 in the App Store, and the upgrade process is accessible.