ShellyBlog Shelly Brisbin's life consists of several long tails. She writes about them here.

June 25, 2015

The Roundtable Rides Again

Filed under: Announcements — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:19 PM

We can make a short show. Yes we can! Then I screw that up by including a 1 minute ad for my book in the middle. Behold and purchase!

Download Maccessibility Roundtable #87: I’ve Lost My Analogy Brain

May 18, 2015

Podcast Catchup, WordPress Crackup

Filed under: Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:25 AM

Ten days ago, I posted a podcast. Almost immediately, I broke the Shelly’s Podcast Web site. Well, I broke it because I was missing some essential WordPress knowledge. I spent a lot of last week acquiring the knowhow I needed to fix the site, and being grateful that DreamHost, a hosting service I understand some people have problems with, was so willing to walk me through making nitty gritty fixes to MySQL tables. It’s worthy of note, too, that they neither condescended to me, or left me dangling. The site is back up, and you can find episode #252 of Shelly’s Podcast there. People seemed to like this one. I was frenetic, and grumpy, and podcasting solo. So go figure.

Also, here’s a short list of things I learned about WordPress last week:

  • How not to back up your WP site
  • How not to get content from an old installation to a new one
  • Where the content of your site actually resides (in the database, duh.)
  • The joy of cleaning crap out of wp-content
  • How to muck around in phpAdmin, including the export of data, deletion of excess database tables, and the editing of others
  • Why things broke in the first place, and how making your site more secure can sometimes bit you in the buttocks

The Maccessibility Roundtable also happened last week. I sure wish spell-check would quit trying to correct the word maccessibility, by the way. Lots of Apple Watch talk, as one might expect.

Maccessibility Roundtable #84: I Never Wasn’t a Dictater

February 17, 2015

You’re the Last to Know

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements,General Store — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 7:48 PM

A bit less than a month ago, I released an updated version of my book, iOS Access for All. The new edition covers iOS 8. I would just love for you to buy, read, and enjoy a copy of the book. I would also love to be able to tell you why my own blog, the one that features an image of the book’s cover there on the sidebar, is the last to get the word. Among other things I never got around to telling any loyal readers who have managed to keep me in their RSS feeds, is that I am now a panelist on a lovely bi-weekly podcast called Maccessibility Roundtable. Also, I released an episode of my own podcast, and have done a bushel of interviews about the book. More are scheduled for this very week.

Does my inattention to what is supposed to be my home on the Internet indicate that I am now among those who believe that Twitter (and possibly Facebook) is all anyone could possibly need in the way of a personal platform? I mean, everyone agrees that RSS is dead, right?

Yes, my own ill-use of this space is connected with the ascendance of other media; ones that have proven results for me, both in terms of feedback on what I write, and jingle in my digital pocket. As much as I love this blog, and making the occasional essays I have penned here, the amount of traffic and comments it gets have been underwhelming.

I refuse to pronounce the blog dead, not so much because I love writing this one, but because I love reading those other people write. But, then again, I just wrote a book, so what do I know? Nobody does that anymore!

May 27, 2014

My book, iOS Access for All, is available now!

I’m thrilled to announce the availability of my book, iOS Access for All: Your Comprehensive Guide to Accessibility on iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The book guides readers through all accessibility features available on Apple’s mobile devices. Whether you’re just getting started with iOS, or want to learn more about apps and accessibility tools you already use, iOS Access for All has all the bases covered. With information of interest to users who are blind, low-vision, hearing-impaired, or have cognitive or motor disabilities, the book is the most extensive iOS accessibility resource available.

I’ve spent more than 25 years writing about technology, with a particular focus on Apple products. I’m also a visually-impaired iPhone user. My full bio is here.

Here’s the Table of Contents for iOS Access for All.

Part 1: Getting Started

Chapter 1: Accessibility the Apple Way

  • Apple Revolutionizes Mobile Access
  • Today’s iDevices, and iOS
  • The Apple Ecosystem
  • Meet iOS Accessibility Features

Chapter 2: Orientation and Quickstart

  • iDevices 101
  • Parts of iOS
  • Choose How to Set Up iOS
  • Accessibility Quickstart
  • Ready to Dive Deeper?

Part 2: The Wide World of iOS Access

Chapter 3: VoiceOver

  • Activate VoiceOver
  • Learn iOS and VoiceOver
  • Do More with the Rotor
  • Text and the Virtual Keyboard
  • Dictate Text with Siri
  • Enter Text with Handwriting Gestures
  • Use a Wireless Keyboard
  • Use a Refreshable Braille Display
  • Manage and Navigate Your Device

Chapter 4: Low-Vision Access

  • iOS’ Low-Vision Challenges
  • Screen Magnification
  • Enlarge and Enhance Text
  • Color and Contrast
  • Speech As a Low-Vision Tool
  • Quickly Enable Low-Vision Features
  • Mainstream Features with Low-Vision Uses
  • The iOS Camera: Low-Vision Super Weapon

Chapter 5: Siri and Voice Input

  • Set Up Siri
  • Siri Commands
  • Dictation
  • Voice Control
  • Voice Input Alternatives

Chapter 6: Tools for Hearing Impaired Users

  • Convert Alerts to a Flash or Vibration
  • Control Audio Output from Calls and Apps
  • Hearing Aid Support
  • Use a Hearing Aid
  • TTY Support
  • Closed Caption Support
  • More Communication with iOS

Chapter 7: Physical and Learning Access

  • Guided Access
  • Switch Control
  • AssistiveTouch

Part 3: All About Apps

Chapter 8: Access to Apple Apps

  • Safari
  • Mail
  • Sidebar: Delete, Move, and Share within Apps
  • Calendar
  • Phone
  • Messages
  • FaceTime
  • Contacts
  • Maps
  • Camera and Photos
  • Music
  • Videos
  • App Store/iTunes Store
  • The Rest of the Included Apps
  • But Wait, There’s More (Apps)

Chapter 9: The Best of Accessible Apps

  • An Accessible App Primer
  • Navigation and Travel
  • Productivity
  • Reading, News, and Information
  • Communication & Social Networking
  • Education
  • Lifestyle
  • Accessibility Tools
  • Learn More About Apps

Appendices

Appendix A: VoiceOver Gestures

Appendix B: VoiceOver Keyboard Commands

Appendix C: Braille Commands

You can buy the book for US$20 at the iOS Access for All Web site.

You can buy the ePub (Apple iBooks-friendly) version for $20 at the book’s Web site.

March 24, 2014

CSUN, and a NosillaGast Guest Shot

I’m just back from the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego. That moniker is a mouthful. Just think of it as the largest annual gathering of accessibility geeks and experts, and you’ll have some idea what it’s all about. Spent three days promoting the book, larding more about accessible tech, meeting folks I’ve been following on Twitter, and handling a products that either incorporate support for accessibility, or are designed specifically to provide an accessible alternative.

I also spent some time with fellow podcasters Robert Carter and Allison Hartley of The Tech Doctor Podcast, and Allison and Steve Sherridan of NosillaCast. A segment we recorded about iOS 7.1 changes related to accessibility appears on this week’s NosillaCast. It’s near the end, but hopefully worth the wait, especially since Allison also includes interviews with a few vendors from the CSUN exhibit hall.

Finally, I returned to Austin via Amtrak, starting on Friday night in San Diego, and arriving home on Sunday morning. It was a great trip, and seems to have completely mellowed me out, after a hectic few days at CSUN. I recommend long-haul train travel, especially if you’re not a fan of what air travel has become.

Here’s a picture I snapped from the back of the train, somewhere in Arizona. My sleeper room happened to be in the last car, so I just walked a little way down the hall to get it.

 

view from the back of a train, somewhere in Arizona.

September 21, 2013

Books, iOS 7, and Podcasting

Filed under: Announcements,General Store,Podcast Appearances — Tags: , , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 12:49 PM

I have been busy working on my book, iOS Access for All: Your Comprehensive Guide to Accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Apple has decided to make my life interesting by releasing a new version of iOS. You may have heard about this. I have spent this week committing my thoughts about the new release into words, both written and spoken. You can read my reaction to the new OS, and its implications for accessibility, and you can listen to the Maccessibility Roundtable #44, where I join in a discussion of similar topics.

July 9, 2013

LA Radio Appearance

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements — Shelly Brisbin @ 10:35 AM

It sounds extra fancy to say, but I was on the radio in LA last week.

I had the great pleasure of talking to the folks at KPFK’s Access Unlimited about my book, iOS Access for All. It was a lot of fun, and I want to thank Jolie and the crew for their interest. My interview will be archived here for the next 90 days. From this page, you can play it, download it, or subscribe to the Access Unlimited podcast. Look for the July 3rd entry.

May 18, 2013

Social Links and Crowd-Sourcing in iOS Access for All

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements — Tags: , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:11 PM

I continue to work feverishly on my book, iOS Access for All. The writing is going well, but there is always more to say than I had thought. All of my initial page counts were low. As I work toward finishing the VoiceOver chapter, I’m looking ahead to the chapters about iOS apps. One will feature all of the Apple-supplied apps, and address their accessibility features and limitations. The second app chapter covers the best tools in all major categories, with an eye on accessibility. So, I will be writing about both the best reading app that happens to have great accessibility, and the best scanner app that can identify the currency in your wallet.

From the beginning, I’ve told people that this book would be interactive. I can review apps all day long, but what I write won’t serve everyone as well as a chapter that comes about with the input of folks in the accessibility community. I’m opening up several social media channels for the book. I will be starting discussions about the apps people like, and why, along with those apps folks think should be avoided. Of course, these social media channels will be promotional tools for the book, too. If you sign up to follow and participate, you will know before anyone when I’ve pressed that Upload button, and when those online stores send the “Approved” email, letting me know the book is available for sale. But honestly, the discussion will be the most fun, and the most useful both to me, and potential readers.

Join the iOS Access for All community:

Of course, I will continue to post about the book on my own pages and feeds, but probably not in as much detail. You’re welcome!

Have I mentioned how excited I am to be working on this project?

March 20, 2013

Me on the Tech Doctor Podcast

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of being a guest on Robert Carter’s Tech Doctor Podcast. It’s a weekly show focused on technology and blindness. I’ve corresponded with Robert before. Turns out he is a listener to Shelly’s Podcast, and a fellow Texan. It was nice to finally meet him. Along with his co-host, Allison Hartley, Robert and I had a wide-ranging discussion of my career, low vision, the Macintosh/iOS, and the book I’m writing.

I was surprised how much ground we covered. And on reflection, I realize that I’ve never discussed many of these topics before on a podcast, or even with most of my friends and colleagues in the tech world. If you want to know what it was and is like to make a career in tech journalism as a low vision person, give it a listen. I want to thank Robert and Allison for inviting me on. And now I am subscribed to one more really great podcast about technology and blindness. Have I mentioned how many great podcasts you’ll find in that category? I oughtta do a post about that sometime.

March 4, 2013

Introducing iOS Access for All

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:03 AM

I am very excited to announce my new book, iOS Access for All: Your Comprehensive Guide to Accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. I feel a little strange announcing something that is not yet finished and available for you to read, but the fast pace of this social-media-driven world makes it important to begin talking about it while I’m writing it, and while I’m gathering ideas and feedback from potential readers.

Here’s the “elevator pitch” for iOS Access for All. Apple’s iDevices include many features that make them accessible to people with disabilities. Most books and Web sites that cover iOS do not address accessibility at all, or fail to do so in any depth. The fine folks who create these resources simply do not use or understand this rich suite of features. I do. The “accessibility Web” for lack of a better term, provides lots of information about accessibility in iOS, but it’s often focused on a single feature, like VoiceOver, or lacks updated content. iOS Access for All is a comprehensive guide because it covers the full range of iOS accessibility features, plus chapters describing the best and most important accessible apps. My experience as author of 12 how-to oriented books about the Macintosh, wireless networking, and Web development qualifies me to write the most thorough and informed guide to iOS accessibility available. I’m also visually impaired, and a daily user of accessibility tools.

OK, that’s the high-rise elevator pitch. If your building isn’t so tall, try this:

iOS Access for All is your comprehensive guide to accessibility for iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. You’ll learn how to use all accessibility tools, as well as which apps are must-haves for those who depend on accessibility features. I’ll update the book and its online presence frequently. I’ve written 12 technology books, and worked as a journalist for 25 years. This will be a good book!

For the full scoop on the book, please go to the iOS Access for All Web site. Right now, it’s your basic WordPress blog. I’ll be posting lots of updates in the next few weeks, Read the FAQ and sign up for the mailing list.

I’m thrilled to be working on this project, and judging by the feedback I’ve gotten from my friends in the Mac/iOS community, as well as the accessibility experts I know, there is a need out there.

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