Accessible Productivity And Spell Check On The Mac

Operating With A PC
Moving to the Mac with VoiceOver from Microsoft Windows and JAWS was a great organizing exercise for me. I took a look at my daily tasks and realized that I spent the majority of my computer time in the following programs:
• Microsoft Outlook 2003
• AOL, Yahoo, and MSN Instant Messaging
• Firefox
• Adobe Reader
• Microsoft Office

Email was handled by Microsoft Outlook 2003. Contact management, calendar maintenance task management, and note taking was also handled by Outlook 2003
I used the Miranda instant messaging client for AOL, Yahoo, and MSN messaging. Although Internet explorer had kept me connected to the internet for years I had recently within the last year moved entirely to FireFox.
I used Adobe Acrobat accessible reader to read PDF files. I used Microsoft Word to create and edit documents. I used Microsoft Excel to manipulate spreadsheets. I used Notepad to dig into those pesky text, configuration and batch files.
Amazingly the key common denominator in the above programs centers around Microsoft with a sprinkle of Adobe and open source thrown in.

The Great Transition
When I moved to the Mac I was amazed to find that the core productivity tasks of mail, task management, internet browsing, calendaring contact management, instant message chat, PDF reading, and document processing are directly integrated into the Mac. and require no additional software.

So in one swoop I realized that all I needed to do was turn on the Mac and enable VoiceOver with CMD-F5 and 90% of my productivity tools were built in; this is an incredible simplification.
It doesn’t stop there! Spell check is real-time therefore spelling issues are corrected and flagged while one types in the same manner in all the applications.

Calendaring, email, and contact management (known as (address book) are tightly integrated and provide much more flexibility than the outlook programs I had previously used.
This is a huge advantage for those of us who have gotten used to the Spaghetti of scripts, screen readers, version compatibility issues, plugins and all the rest of the glue that holds the Windows screen reader environment together.

What experiences have you had? Please share!