Sunday, 20 April 2014

My favourite Mac Apps - Talking Tech for April 22 2014

My Top Mac Apps




Besides the builtin Mac OS x apps including: Calculator, Calendar, Contacts, Dictionary, FaceTime, iTunes, Mail, Maps, Messages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and Textedit, these are the apps I use on the Mac all the time for one reason or another.  Keep in mind, that most of these apps also appear in iOS.


The Mac iBooks application is still currently off the list as Apple still needs to do some work on its overall accessibility, the Mac Kindle app is still inaccessible, and Microsoft Office remains inaccessible to VoiceOver users.


To make it more efficient for me to access many of these apps, I used the VoiceOver Keyboard Commander to launch these apps with the Right Option key.  For example: Option+A Amadeus Pro, Option+B Byword, Option+D MarsEdit, Option+F Airfoil, Option=K Skype, and so on.  Besides the default VoiceOver Keyboard Commander app launch options of Option+M for Mail and Option+S for Safari, I also added a few short-cuts for other default Mac apps such as Option+E for TextEdit, Option+I for iTunes, and Option+J for Messages.


Where the developer has a similar app on iOS, an app can interface with a particular app on iOS or there is a particular favourite app for iOS which does a similar function to the Mac app, I have listed it as well with the Mac app.


Probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway (smile), these apps work fine with VoiceOver on Mac OS X and iOS.


The following list of applications are either from the Mac App Store (which you can get to via the Dock on the Mac or from the 3rd party developers website.


Activity Timer


A very simple and straightforward activity timer which I tend to use when cooking or timing myself on the treadmill.  Just remember, this app once run is accessed via the Extra’s menu which you can get to with VoiceOver with Control+Option+MM.


Airfoil and Airfoil Speakers


Both of these applications are from Rogue Amoeba. Airfoil: allows you to play to multiple AirPlay speakers from apps on your Mac (such as iTunes or my daisy app ReadHear) on the same Wi-Fi network around your house, having control over every single speaker. AirFoil Speaker: turns your Mac in to an AirPlay speaker. Where the magic comes in though, is when you use Airfoil speaker as the audio source for Airfoil, then have your iOS device (such as your iPhone) AirPlay to your Mac (AirPlay speaker): which means, that you are AirPlaying to multiple speakers not just one which AirPlay normally supports.


The Airfoil Speakers iOS app to turn your iOS device in to an AirPlay Speaker.


Airplane Setting


As the name suggests, turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth settings when you fly, just saves that little bit extra of mucking around.


Amadeus Pro


This is the audio recording and editing app that I use for all my podcasts, and the occasional meeting or conference I wish to record/edit.


Battery Monitor


This one is great when I’m working on the train.  Monitors your battery charge and discharge cycles, plus speaks out every 10 percent.




This is a great text editor.  I mainly use it for when writing mark down documents which I then want to turn in to HTML files.


Here is the ByWord iOS App Store download link as well.




A great game to play for a bit of time out.  In this game, you have to stack coins of different denominations before the time runs out. A self voicing game on the Mac where once the game has started, you can Command+F5 to turn off VoiceOver and use the inbuilt in speech in the game itself.


Clock Chimes


Just something different to the Mac’s default talking clock.  Make your Mac chime on the hour, quarter, and half an hour. 4 types of chimes to choose from. .


DocuScan Plus


Complete scanning (OCR) solution for the Mac. This application requires an account on Scan, read, save printed documents as well as PDF files. Email the document or convert to daisy, mp3, large print or to a Braille file. You can even send the document to your Kindle. I tend to use this app when everything else fails to work.




As I listen to podcast all the time to keep up to date with main stream and assistive technology, this must be one of my most used apps on the Mac.  Listen to a whole range of podcasts on your Mac, companion to the Downcast app on iOS.


Here is the DownCast iOS App Store link as well:




allows you to share files with devices, in my case, between all of my Mac,and iOS devices. I also use it to share folders with people that I have to give or share content with: such as sharing my podcasts with Applevis or ACB Radio MainMenu.


Here is the Dropbox iOS App Store download link as well.


Instant TWIT


Sometimes rather than just downloading and listening to the various podcasts from the TWIT Network, I like to listen live.  Just remember, this app once run is accessed via the Extra’s menu which you can get to with VoiceOver with Control+Option+MM.


Here is the TWIT iOS App Store download link as well.




I’ve snuck in iTunes here for a number of reasons.  I Use iTunes to watch movies and TV shows on my Mac, redeem iTunes Gift Cards via the EyeSight camera, listen to audiobooks from, search for iOS Apps, and Airplay iTunes Radio around my house during the day.


Keeper Password and Data Vault


Keep all your passwords and data such as credit numbers secure, on the cloud, and synced with your iPHone, iPod touch or iPad. Use Keeper for iOS to sync across Mac/Devices: which is exactly what I do, very very nice considering how many logins and passwords I have.



Here is the Keeper iOS App Store download link as well.




This is the blog app I use for my technology blog site.



This is the iOS app I use (Blogger) to keep track of my blogs on



Money Reader


Like the iOS app, this app on the Mac identifies paper currency via the EyeSight camera. Somtiems a bit faster than having to get my iPhone out of my pocket, particularly if I am working on the Mac.


Here is the Money Reader iOS App Store download link as well.


Music Healing


This app plays a range of relaxing music.  I tend to use it at night time via Airfoil to Airplay the music to my boys rooms as they like having music to go to sleep with.


Here is the Music Healing iOS App Store download link as well. 




Apple's word processor. You can open Microsoft Word documents with it. Can also save documents out from it so that it can be opened by Word. Now this is another app that I use all the time as its also the companion to the Pages app I use on all of my iOS devices, so that I can work on documents on my Mac or iOS devices and they are all up to date with any changes.


Here is the Pages iOS App Store download link as well.

Notational velocity

Take and search notes quickly on your Mac.  Syncs with SimpleNote on iOS.  I find this is a great combination for jotting down notes at any time on either platform.


Here is the SimpleNote iOS App Store download link as well. 




Great app for scanning printed books (OCR) from my flat-bed scanner or even using my iPhone as the actual scanner/digital camera. In addition, this app allows me to scan/OCR PDF image files which I would otherwise not be able to access at all by VoiceOver on the Mac.


Here is the Prizmo iOS App Store download link as well.


ReadHere Pro


Daisy audio and text player for Mac. I use ReadHear to listen to daisy books from the Vision Australia Library.


Here is a similar app (Voice Dream Reader) for iOS for reading daisy books and other formats via audio.




This is a self-voicing game portal (i.e., you have to turn off VoiceOver to use it) which allows you to play against the computer (bot) or another person or person on the internet quite a number of games. Including: Monopoly, Uno, Blackjack, Yahtzee, One Thousand Miles, Battleship, Shut The Box, Apples to Apples, Farkel, Rummy, Pig, and Bingo. I think my two favourite games from RS Games is Battleship and Pig.






An easy to use viewer for Pdf text files, just like reading in a text editing application. 




In this game, once you have entered the Silver Dollar Saloon, you can prove your self a gun fighter by shooting different sized plates as the fly past faster and faster, take a go at the one armed bandit slot machine or (pick a fight (this last one I could have done without). A self voicing game on the Mac where once the game has started, you can Command+F5 to turn off VoiceOver and use the inbuilt in speech in the game itself.




I’m fairly sure we all know what is Skype by now: audio, video or text chat client.


Here is the Skype iOS App Store download link as well.


Song announcer


Leave running and receive via speech synthesis the track playing plus artist name when changing tracks via the Apple remote or the FN hardware keys F7 (Previous track), F8 (play/pause current track), and F9 (next track).




Use your Mac as your Bluetooth keyboard to your iOS device (including your Apple TV). One of those apps that you don’t know what you did before it came along. Means if I wish, I can use my Mac to access my iPhone, iPad or as I said apple TV. Just remember to Command+F5 to turn VoiceOver off when you start using it with your iOS device.



White Noise


The popular White Noise app for iOS devices is now available on the Mac. Various sounds including ocean, train, cars, wind, etc. Great for down time background noise or when your on a flight and you want to shut out background noise.


Here is the White Noise iOS download link as well.


World Radio


Actually use this radio app for listening to Vision Australia live radio.  Just remember, this app once run is accessed via the Extra’s menu which you can get to with VoiceOver with Control+Option+MM.  I actually added the radio stations I wanted to by adding their URL which then comes up under the favourites menu.


XMart Volume


Alters your headphone volume when someone speaks to you automatically when you listening to music for example, comes in very handy when I’m working on my Mac.


Here is a similar app (Awareness)on the iOS App Store.!-the-headphone-app/id389245456?mt=8



Great twitter application, searching for Night Owl in the Mac App Store will find the application. This is the app I use all the time for Twitter when I’m on my Mac.


Here is a link to my favourite Twitter (TweetList) app for iOS:

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