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Braille Production with MacOS

Many school districts are switching to MacOS for various reasons, particularly around the issue of virus protection.  The problem for us in the field of visual impairments is that much of the accessibility software is PC (Windows OS) based, especially when it comes to embossing and braille production.  There is an emulation software called VMware Fusion which is now in its 4th edition so it can work with MacOS 10.7 (Lion). Emulating software (according to Wikipedia)  duplicates (or emulates) the functions of a first computer system in a different second computer system, so that the behavior of the second system closely resembles the behavior of the first system.  In this case, the MacOS can now run Windows XP or 7  as a separate application.  Windows-based applications are now able to almost run in the same way as they do on a PC computer.  The emphasis is on “almost”.  There are some JAWS key commands that do not work.  The software is available from the VM Fusion website. (http://www.vmware.com/products/fusion/overview.html)

After installing VMware Fusion, you then have to install a Windows operating system, preferably Windows 7, since XP is no longer supported.  You can then load Duxbury Braille Translation (DBT) 11.1, QuickTac 4 (beta), and Microsoft Office 2010 (or ’07).  If you installed Word 2010 (Office 2010),  DAISY files can be produced with the Word (Save As DAISY) add-in.  Tactile graphic embossing is also possible with Tiger embossers.  Just load the Tiger drivers (according to the type of embosser you have)  from the ViewPlus driver download webpage (http://downloads.viewplus.com/drivers), and follow the downloading procedure. On the VMware fusion Mac window, be sure to select “Prolific IEEE-1284 Controller”.  This changes the printer interface from a Mac connection to a PC connection.  The ViewPlus printer icon will now appear in the printer listing. If all works right, you should be able to use your Mac computer to print tactile graphics from a Tiger embosser.  Happy Mac embossing.

Patrick Van Geem, TVI
Assistive Technology Consultant
Outreach Department, TSBVI
OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology Software)
Optimizing Vision

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