Macintosh Computers Running Leopard

There've been two tries at this. The first one was written in Java and ran on Linux. It didn't work because the design was bad: the mouse could be moved outside the active area of the screen, and the program would just stop responding. The blind kids who were testing it couldn't understand what happened. All they knew was that everything just stopped. This time, the position of the mouse is irrelevant — only the action matters.

The computer-generated speech on Linux was kind of clunky anyway, and with the latest release of OS X, Apple has added a much more natural and intelligible synthesized voice (Alex) and they've done quite a bit of work on their own accessibility software. They were light years ahead of Linux in this area, so the Mac was picked for the second try.

Keep in mind that AUI is just another program, albeit an odd one. When AUI isn't running, or if you switch to another of OS X's multiple workspaces, the Mac's just a plain old Mac and all the plain old Mac software is available.

If something that runs only on Windows is needed, the Mac runs Windows just fine, either as a dual boot or as a virtual machine (Sun Microsystems has recently started giving away a VM application that will run many versions of Windows and Linux on a Mac). Both these options require a working, installable copy of Windows.

An alternative that doesn't need Windows at all is to install an application called Wine on the Mac. I'm told that most, but not all, Windows applications work, and aside from the cost of the application and the Mac, everything else costs nothing.

You might want to consult your local techie to set these up and get them going, but once it works, it tends to keep working...

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