The Accessible Setup

What do people with disabilities use to get stuff done?

Matt Watson

Matt Watson

Spanish lecturer

Who are you and what do you do?

I'm Matt Watson, and I teach Spanish at Mississippi State University. I like to write and do translations, and I also studied journalism and worked for the student newspaper as an undergrad. I am prone to undertaking random and varied projects or hobbies that I rarely finish.

What hardware are you using?

I use my brother's four-year old 20" iMac at home. It is the best desktop I've ever had, and it was free! At work, I generally use my three-year-old black Macbook, which still has a lot of files I have been too lazy to back up and transfer to the iMac. For my job, I often have to use one of our lab's PCs in order to use the computer projector. I plan on buying a DVI cord one day and perhaps my own projector. I prefer to use my Bamboo pen tablet to navigate the computer, but I generally don't use it with my Macbook.

I also have a not fully functional HTC Hero with Android that I will probably soon replace with an iPhone 4s. I recently bought a Bluetooth earpiece, because lifting the phone to my ear is difficult and tiring. Talking on the speakerphone as a common practice is almost socially unacceptable.

I like to read, and the Kindle has made reading a lot less physically taxing.

And what software?

I run Leopard on the Macbook and Lion on the iMac. I have Microsoft Office on my Macbook but not on my iMac. The only two programs I ever use from Microsoft Office are Word and maybe PowerPoint. I'm completely incompetent with Excel. I use Google spreadsheets for grading and am thinking about using it to log my personal caretakers' time, something I've been too lazy to start doing. I use Pages on the iMac for word processing needs, and so far it's working fine. I was a long-time user of Firefox but have mostly converted to Google Chrome, which runs more smoothly for me. I type with a point-and-click app called KeyStrokes, which I peck at fairly rapidly using the Bamboo Tablet. Other applications: Skype, Twitterific, Garageband, iTunes.

What assistive technology equipment are you using?

I use an electric door opener, an electric Hoyer lift, an air mattress, a hospital bed... oh, and a motorized wheelchair.

What would be your dream setup?

A 27" iMac at home and a 13-inch Macbook Pro hooked to a 27" Apple LED Cinema Display for the office. Lion on both. If only Santa would listen to me for once!