Keyboard Accessibility for Mac OS X -- In his TidBITS series on accessibility for disabled Macintosh users, Joe Clark bemoaned the state of adaptive technology in Mac OS X. Last week's release of KeyStrokes for Mac OS X from the Dutch company Niemeijer Consult could help improve Mac OS X's position in the adaptive technology world. KeyStrokes displays a graphical keyboard on the screen; users type by positioning the cursor over letters and clicking the button of a mouse, trackball, head pointer, or other pointing device. For those who can position the cursor but can't click a button, KeyStrokes provides a system-wide "dwell-based" utility that enables clicking, double-clicking, and click-and-drag by holding the cursor motionless for a short period of time over the desired target. Text can be entered into any application in Mac OS X, even those running in Classic. U.S. and international keyboard layouts are available and the program supports Command-key combinations, dead keys (for accents), and modifier key-click combinations. KeyStrokes for Mac OS X costs $200 and includes a copy of KeyStrokes 2.2 for System 7.1 through Mac OS 9.2; volume and upgrade discounts are available. For those who want to try it first, there's a fully functional demo. [ACE]
Springy Dock Tricks
If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.
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