Archive for July, 2009

Kiss Apple’s Feet

July 12, 2009

Some of us have already ventured into the mac world, I’m a mere baby I have to say, only being involved with ┬ámac since last October and I only bought one because I was tired of MS, FS Viruses and constantly having to patch things. My Sony was dying a death and I really wanted an ipod nano. After listening to a podcast done by someone on Lioncourt I decided using a mac couldn’t be that hard at all. I had seen VO in Tiger and hated it, simply because I didn’t understand it or try to understand it. The people who were demonstrating it to me were ill informed and had no clue how to use the mac OS let alone VO so I swore, like many others did that I would stick to old faithful windows and old faithful jaws. But when I had a reality check on the price of a new laptop capable of running jaws and the jaws licence itself, I nearly had a heart failure. I hopped over to the apple website and check out a macbook. the mid range macbook cost me less than a licence of jaws by 70 pounds, not including the P&P so I took the plunge and I will never go back! as long as apple keeps doing what it is doing, making its products what they are, sleek, operational out of the box and everything I could possibly want from an OS both on my computer and phone, then I will never turn my back on them.

Kiss their feet! Why not? They have done far more than any other company has attempted too. They make their products accessible to all. And that is their beauty. not to mention they have a dedicated team for accessibility. MS will eventually lose a hold on the VI community, keep upgrading their Os with yet another version needed of an expensive Screen Reader, only to still be subjected to viruses and constant patches. Apple isn’t perfect, no one will say they are, but they are ears ahead of others in their attempt. I’ve seen people complaining about their iphones, did you honestly expect perfection? This is the first touch screen phone ever available to those with a Visual impairment. Was Voice over perfect the first time around? I highly doubt it? Is it perfect now? No, of course not, but that is the perfection in it. Where their is problems, there is always progress to be made. And apple are always willing to continue their progression.

even though I am not from the US, I have lived there and been amongst people who relate to the NfB and AcB and still hear of their policies through people I interact with online. I am appalled that an organisation is suing apple. For what? For making their products accessible? Their claim is to do with Itunes on the windows side. Now Jaws 10 is accessible with Itunes, and I know this from talking to people who use Jaws and Itunes together, I see no reason why the NFB should continue to sue. GW-micro worked with apple as i understand it to make Itunes 8 accessible last year and this coincided with Apple’s own built in screen reader becoming functional with itunes on Leopard. Did FS work with Apple? No, I doubt they did. And maybe this is a jump on my part but maybe this is NFB’s way of keeping FS with a strong hold upon the VI community. But can VI computer users continue to pay out the incredible prices FS are offering? For a programme that yes, works rather well, no one will say otherwise on it’s OS, but for the price of a Jaws licence here in the UK I bought a brand new mac with a built in screen reader that neglects to have the incredible amount of issues that I had with my PC and Jaws.

I see so many windows VI users constantly having to do something to their computer to make it work. I know that when I had skype on my PC, I was forever using scripts to make Jaws work with it well. Did the NFB try and sue Skype? no, because Skype posed no threat to them. Apple have the ability to take over the technical market eventually. The more of us using a mac independently, as most of us do, the more exposure Apple get within the VI community. Now the Iphones are accessible, and I personally think they have done an outstanding job on this product, the more every day people are aware of the accessibility built into the phone. If someone we know, also has an Iphone, and they see a visually impaired person using the same phone as themselves, it addresses the continuing knowledge that Apple have worked by themselves to integrate accessibility for all.

I’ve had several experiences within the short three weeks of owning my IPhone where people have asked me questions or been amazed that I didn’t have to pay any more than they did for their phones. Why should we be penalised for the fact we have no vision? Why should we continue to support an assistive technology market that costs us as individuals, an absolute fortune? I often couldn’t afford many of the products i would like to buy. So if this trend continues, and I hope it’s passed on to other major companies, of having mainstream products include accessibility to all in their products then I shall be a happy person. I see no reason why I should have to pay any more than my sighted peers for a product when I don’t have too. And of course, there are going to be people who believe I am wrong, and that is OK. I have my opinion, and you have yours. But let me just say this. Would you pay more for a piece of food just because you are visually impaired? Why shouldn’t companies like Apple include accessibility into their products for the same price as their sighted customers? Why should we support a market just for the sake of supporting it when there are products out there in the mainstream we could buy and use at no extra cost? And why should an organisation that is meant to be supporting the blind and Visually impaired stand in the way of those companies attempting to do what they can to make their products accessible? Why pick at the smallest thing you can find wrong and create a legal case about it? Shouldn’t these organisations work with this company to help the visually impaired community? We all know that many VI users can operate a mac, ipod nano, ipod shuffle and now the Iphone with no sighted assistance, so why does the NfB continually try to discount these facts? They are facts. no one can deny that. People operate these products both at a professional and personal level each and every day. I can only draw the conclusion that the NFB are aware of this but do not want to admit it for underlying reasons.

To those individuals who enjoy windows and their chosen screen reader, I’m glad for you. That is your choice. But please stop discounting the wonders what apple have done for not just our community but so many others. It is trying and that is far more than I can say about so many others. Would I kiss apple’s feet? Possibly not, but I would like to thank them and applaud what they have done, and continue to do for me as an avid computer and general technology user. What they have done is beyond my expectations and the thing is, I know in my apple shaped heart, there is so much more to come.

To the NFB, ACB, and to anyone who discounts what apple are doing, just sit back and wait and see, because I guarantee, there are greater things to come from this company who are about all of their customers, not just the general population.

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