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Estin Talavera, Assistive Technology Specialist, joins the discussion forum.

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Mac book air

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By: mr estin talavera

Last wednesday I received my new Macbook Air. It had come to the house earlier that week, so my dad brought it up for me to start getting ready. We opened the box and then I was left to my own devices.
The entire unit is very thin. From back to front it gets thinner. On the very back left corner you have the power plug, one USB port and an audio jack for headphones. On the right side you have the thunderbolt port, another USB port and an SAID card slot. From complete power off it takes about 22 seconds for voice-over to come on and be ready to use. I have the track pad commander on and running so now the gestures I know from IOS will translate over to this system. This means that I can flick tap and use other gestures. I only have two USB ports on here so to help I have a 7 port USB hub. This will allow me plug several other devices into my computer.
One other thing that you may have noticed is that I did not say anything about a cd drive. This is because the Air doesn't have one. In order to play cds you need to have an external cd drive. Luckily for me I happen to have one. I just hope it still works still. I will be testing it this weekend.
Thanks to a wonderful friend of mine I now have a copy of windows on the computer as well. This means that I can run either system whenever I need. I am using a program called VM ware fusion. It seems so far to be working well;. The only problem I have is that I do not have an insert key or an applications key. I called Serotek to see if they had any ideas for me. They said I should get a program called sharp keys. This program allows you to map one key to another key. When I get further along I will explain more. Windows seems to be going well otherwise though and my friend and I will get this figured out quickly.
Speaking of problems I had one other that I want to bring up. I am a college student at WSU. At WSU we have a Wifi system that is all over campus. The systems security is wpa2 enterprise. In order to connect to this network you have to have a username and password. I typed in my username and my password and we could not get it to work. Then I took it to the help desk at WSU, and they got it connected for a few minutes, but then when I tried to use the connection in the dorms I could not. This was quite frustrating. Finally it was a little past midnight and we tried our last ditch effort. For it seems to be working. I have had it connected for two days now. We will see what happens when I take it home.
This will be an interesting couple of weeks as I adjust and figure out what I'm doing in windows and what I'm doing in OSX. I want to keep people posted, so I will continue to post updates.

By: mr estin talavera

The next Post about the Mac book Air and my experiences with it.
I have been testing my computer with different hardware this week. We finally finished setting up windows. The cd drive that I'm using is not working in my USB hub. This means that I have to choose whether I want to plug in my COULD drive or my external hard drive. However this morning I tried my cd drive in the hub and it seemed to work fine. I will need to keep experimenting with it. Perhaps when the hub is plugged into an outlet things like the cd drive will work, but when I have it unplugged from an outlet and just in my USB port it won't.
Anyway windows seemed to be working fine at first. Then I decided to go and use internet explorer. Which was fine. I discovered that I couldn't move word by word using the standard CTRL plus left and right. This took a while to solve. We finally went into the Mac keyboard options and found what CTRL plus left and right did on the Mac. Then we set them to do nothing.
All right now let me continue with a discussion I started last time. The problem of not having any kind of insert or applications keys. Sharp keys works very well. The first thing I tried with it was mapping insert to right command and applications to right option. The problem with this was that I lost the use of these keys. The next thing I tried was mapping applications to f5 and insert to f6. This worked for a few days until I remembered that f5 is the keyboard command to refresh and f6 is also a keyboard command. Now I still have the applications key set the same, but the f2 is now my insert key. I'm not sure yet what I will remap applications to yet I need to find a key that isn't used. Perhaps I'll try f8.
I am really enjoying using my Mac. For the most part I use OSX, but it's nice to have the option to go into windows when it's so needed. One nice part is that I can open a word file from finder and it will open up office for me. Or I can open up an WMA file and tell the computer to open it in windows media player.
Now I want to talk about mac mail. I use iCloud for my contacts this means that if someone emails me I can add them right to my address list for both my iCloud account and for my work account. When I was just using windows I was using all web clients to manage contacts and emails. This meant that I had a lot of contacts that were scattered and hard to find. Now it will be much easier to manage both with the computer I have.
I will continue to post updates on this topic, but if you have questions please sign up for a free account and post a reply. Give me an idea of what you want me to try.
One thing that I have not gotten too yet is a braille display. This may be the focus of the next post. I am also going to download a twitter client for mac, and sea how that goes.