[personal profile] jazzyjj
You read that right. Apple released Os X Yosemite to the masses last week to much fanfare. Due to a scheduling conflict I was unable to tune into Thursday's event live, but I did catch it in its entirety the very next evening. A big shout goes out to the awesome folks at AppleVis for providing a direct link to listen to this event. Yosemite was not Apple's only exciting news last week, but it seems to have garnered a lot of attention within the blindness community so that's what I want to focus on in this entry. No I haven't upgraded to it yet, but I might at some point do so. I'll get to that in a bit though.

I first want to mention something about all the complaining that I've read about VoiceOver, Apple's on-board screen reader. I know, there was a time when I didn't think too highly of VoiceOver either. That was before I got my Mac computer though. This is my first Mac computer, and my parents gave it to me for Christmas last year. I had previously read and heard primarily negative things about VoiceOver, namely the assertion that it doesn't do as much as the Windows-based screen readers or that it does things in the wrong way. I can now say with a good degree of certainty that this is far from the truth. I'll admit I've only focused on the basic tasks thus far, such as email and surfing the Internet with both Google Chrome and Apple's built-in web browser Safari. I've also done a little bit with TextEdit, and I got a brief look at Pages. VoiceOver has worked great for me, and I'd have to say it has definitely met my expectations as far as learning a different operating system is concerned. I really appreciate all the on-board help that is available from anywhere within VO. VO isn't perfect, but nothing and nobody is. For instance, one area that isn't too accessible is the Notification Center in OS X Mavericks. But based on what I've read, this has been fixed in Yosemite. VO might not be the answer for every screen reader user, but for someone or a group of people to flat-out say that it's a bad screen reader and people shouldn't use it is just wrong in my books. I'm including the so-called VR professionals too when I say that. For one thing, Apple has made it available to every single user of their products as of the Tiger days. They have included it in their core operating system, which to me spells a huge market win. The other thing is that VoiceOver is not NVDA, JAWS, System Access, or any of the other screen readers. Nor are the other screen readers VoiceOver. So yes, they are going to work differently simply because they are separate products.

I mentioned at the beginning of this entry that I have chosen not to upgrade to OS X Yosemite at this time. I have arrived at this decision based on the fact that Yosemite is supposedly still buggy in some areas. Since I'm still rather new to Mac OS, I thought it would be better for me to stay on Mavericks. There's stuff I haven't learned yet. Having said that though, I did check out the latest release of iTunes. I won't claim to be an iTunes aficionado because I'm not. In fact far from it. I don't even fully understand how iTunes works, but I'm pretty sure I grasp the concept. However, the new interface seems to be a bit more accessible with VO. Earlier this evening I was listening to iTunes Radio, and it seems to be a bit more reliable in terms of the selection of music based on one's chosen genre. In addition, big kudos to Apple for letting Mavericks users share in the fun of this new iTunes version. I will post another entry right here if and when I upgrade to Yosemite, so stay tuned!
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