Mac Accessibility

mac accessibilitySometimes, I get bad pain and weakness in my hands. It is some combination of arthritis, carpal tunnel, and overuse. Yesterday, it got worse than it has been in a very long time. I spent most of the day photoshopping and coding (aka typing). I also did karate, which I am sure did not help. Last night, my right hand was stuck in a claw, and this morning I could barely use my mouse at all.

I turned on a couple of the accessibility features that are part of OS X (mac operating system). First, I turned on ‘mouse keys’. This is an amazing feature which allows you to do everything you can with a mouse using the number pad. You can not use the numpad for numbers when it is turned on. I could move the cursor in every direction, click things, drag or resize windows, etc.

I also turned on speech recognition, which allows you to speak commands instead of clicking on them. I could open or close windows and programs, switch between them, save things, copy and paste, navigate menu items, get new mail, and even go back and forward in my browser.

While I was not brave enough to try Photoshop, I managed to work for most of the day using my voice and left hand for everything except typing. I suppose I could have typed lefty too, but since it wasn’t so bad with a wrist brace on, I decided against it. I think much too fast to type slowly.

It was really great that in just a few minutes, I could find an alternative way to use my computer. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can play warcrack without my right hand.

Completely unrelated random mac fact: While I was writing this, I opened the apple dictionary to find out how to spell carpal tunnel and discovered that a Wikipedia search and Apple technical terms dictionary have been added to the standard dictionary and thesaurus. Wikipedia searches stay inside the dictionary window. Nice. I also noticed that the app has become very wiki-like in the way that every printed word is linked to its entry in the dictionary. The links are not obvious until you hover over them which is also very nice. Hard to image reading a dictionary covered in bright blue underlined words!

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