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The personal site of Jamie Knight, an autistic web developer, speaker and mountain biker who is never seen far from his plush sidekick Lion. View the Archive

Topics: Autism Development

My Mac Setup Process.

Okay, this blog post is mostly for “future me”, hopefully its useful to others but i wanted to document this mostly for myself!

For contect, i am an autsitic developer / writer / public speaker, who is currently unable to speak. My Mac is everyting from my typewriter to my voice.

Here’s how i configure everything!


The first thing i do on a new Mac during setup is enable iCloud. I use almost all of the iCloud services apart from “Back to my Mac”. I’ve never needed remote access so i dont enable it.

I enable iCloud first as it takes a while to download my iCloud Drive (30gb or so). It also has all my passwords for everything else!

iCloud keychain sit in input fields, this is one of the reasons i hate clever “reveal the password” buttons inside text input boxes… they should not overlay, i own the text input, not the designer…. leave it alone, i need that space!


The next thing i do is enable speech output in the Speech & Dictation settings screen. I use the default shortcut of alt + esc. As i cannot speak, my Mac is my voice much of the time, and this is how i use it. I write what i want to say in a text editor, then i highlight it and hit alt + esc to get it too read it aloud.

I also use this system for reading long documents etc! Its marvolous.


Next I go into Accsessbility settings and zoom. I enable “use scroll gesture with modfier keys to zoom” which allows me to zoom in and out using the track pad. I then set alt + cmd as the “modfier keys”…. in other words, if i hold those keeys and swipe up and down my screen zooms in and out.

I do this both to help me see things better, but also to reduce the visual clutter within my view. I read very slowly, so random extra stuff in the user interface steals my focus. If i zoom in on what i am doing, all the other distractions are removed!

App Store.

Next, i grab the following apps from the app store:

Development tools.

I install dev tools as and when i need them. Within a few days that means i will need Coda etc, but i can afford to hang back and wait. Not every Mac in my life will be used for coding and i cant be bothered to do the serial key dance every time.

Published: 5 June 2016 | Categories: , Permalink

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