By the way, if you could please post the link to Joel's thread, we can ask the moderators to edit it so it points here. Mac OS X has always had Universal Access options for screen magnification, black on white, and contrast as well voiceover, and assistive devices. Also Apple menu -> System Preferences -> General can help by changing the minimum size of the fonts for font smoothing. The problem with Joel's thread probably was that he was pleading Apple in a user to user forum, and no one saw his thread, thinking it another rant. http://www.apple.com/feedback/ is where you can plead Apple to help with things.
Thanks for your reply, a brody. I'm sorry, but I cannot re-find the referenced post by "i joel." I'm certain it was on apple.com's support, though, because that's the only place I've been. I will search the archives of 2007 again tonight in another attempt to provide a link to his thread.
If you will note from my screenie, the Mac user interface fonts are very small (thus my whining),
while the Firefox browser fonts vary from a degree or two larger, particularly in the address bar of the browser. This is because I have installed a Firefox Add-on called, simply, "Make address bar fonts larger."
I wish the Mac interface problem were as easy to solve!
P.S. Sorry, I thought the image would enlarge when you clicked it.
Thank you again for sticking with me on this. If I may say, perhaps the wording of my original question had a pejorative tone, and if any reader were to take offense, I certainly apologize and meant only to ask an honest question (albeit one asked out of ignorance of the product viv-a-vis Universal Access).
a brody, I certainly did not mean to seem as if I ignored your advice. I appreciate your kindness and direction.
While I now see where the Universal Access Zoom (and Lion Zoom Window) features have their positive applications, I'm inclined to agree with another ancient (2006)poster, who basically stated that "activating the Zoom option of Universal Access makes only a portion of the screen visible, which means a lot more driving around to accomplish the same tasks" at this location: https://discussions.apple.com/message/2466178#2466178, the sixth para.,first post on that page.
I'm sorry that my image did not load. I followed the instructions to the best of my knowledge. The image just shows a browser page open within MAC OS X, to illustrate the small font size along the Apple menu bar at the top of the screen.
I've seen references to third-party programs such as SILK and TinkerTool that may have the ability to enlarge the hardwired sytem fonts in MAC OS X. I'll have to examine these further.
In the meantime, I'm going to drop out of this thread with my thanks for the responses I've received.
I looked at Universal Access (trying to increase the font size in the [top] menu bar.) You say that the font size can be quite large. I'm sorry, but I don't see anything about font sizes in the Universal Access settings (in System settings); I see Zoom, Dispaly (contrast in particular) -- but where would you find the font size?
Can I make a suggestion I used successfully with my mother-in-law, who has macular degeneration?:
Get a monitor with native resolution of say 1600x1200 pixels, and set your Mac to resolution exactly HALF that: 800x600. Voila! Everything comes out larger, including fixed graphics, text-as-images, photos, menu bars, icons, etc., etc,.; all reasonably sharp and without any distortion, too.
The important thing is to keep the aspect ratios of:
(a) the native screen resolution in pixels
(b) the display resolution put out by the Mac
...the same. (4:3 in this case).
I'm now using the latest (but NOT greatest) 15" MacBook Pro with HiRes non-gloss screen
4 days to migrate, buy updates, set up Internet, security, test everything. Then I decided to tackle the small font problem, guessing that this would be a simple button that I had missed.
Apple, what has happened? I'm thinking of handing you back your computer!
mmoblie's suggestion above might work for some, but I found the resulting font rather fuzzy. Also I want to be able to sort and edit my photos and that is a no go. The font in iPhoto is equally small. I could buy another editing application, whch I had planned, but would that solve the problem? I doubt it.
Does anybody know if Leopard was afflicted with this fault? If not, maybe I will just upgrade my old MacBook Pro to Leopard.
Apple menu -> System Preferences -> Universal Access gives you a variety of ways of increasing the whole screen view to a larger size without having to change the resolution, not to mention speak the text that is under the cursor. In Lion we finally have a stationary zoom option built-in. Previous Mac OS X versions http://www.haxies.com/ had a program called Mighty Mouse, not to be confused with the mouse released by Apple, that allowed a stationary zoom window to be available. Old ResExcellence themes that increased the font size haven't been supported in a long time. Tinkertool has offered offered some font size options, but not to all Mac OS X versions. You might want to look into http://www.lemkesoft.com/ 's GraphicConverter, and see if they offer font increasing size for the browsing of the images. I haven't checked that out yet.
When you spend money, don't you research your options before spending that kind of money? You could always buy a used or refurbished Mac for less, and use the money you save towards software you need. By the way the period is not used to separate thousands in English. It is the comma that is used. So it looks like you are complaining about $3. Buying new isn't always the best bet especially if you have special needs.
Don't take it personally.
This is a feature which I have come to expect from Apple.
I don't use spelling correction and I write in 4 languages which use different punctuation before the comma. Mac's cost more that $3 though.
I consider my needs are quite normal and I forecast great profits by investing in optical companies, standing to gain tremendously from those currently willing to risk their eyesight just for something which looks good.