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

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.

February 26, 2013

Apple Versus Samsung, My Take

Here is a story I wrote for Stabley Times about the latest Samsung lawsuit against Apple. This one is all about a subject that’s near and dear to my heart, the accessibility of iOS.

January 23, 2013

Return to Macworld

Filed under: Announcements,General Store,New Media and Tech — Shelly Brisbin @ 7:59 AM

I used to go to Macworld Expo (now Macworld/iWorld) every year. I covered the show for MacUser along with a swarm of my colleagues, roving the aisles to find new products, and meeting with vendors who had secret things to show me. When I became a freelancer, I continued attending the show. I always had a book to sell, or a writing project research. A few times, I gave presentations or signed my books. I helped put on a few parties, and published a bucketful of podcasts, too. That was always a lot of fun. And then there was the annual spectacle of the Steve Jobs’ Keynote. I was there for all the big announcements, doing my best not to get sucked into the very real Reality Distortion Field. Macworld was a social whirl, too. I have so many friends in the Mac economy, and we had some truly great times, running from event to event on cold San Francisco nights in January.

My last Macworld was in 2008. I was editor of Blogger & Podcaster Magazine, and I was trying mightily to raise our profile that year. Sadly, it didn’t work. Our publisher declared bankruptcy. As you might expect, that pretty much killed the magazine.

This year, I’m headed back to San Francisco, and a Macworld/iWorld that seems, from the outside, anyway, to have changed quite a bit since I last attended. The event itself is less focused on business and professional Mac users, and more oriented toward hobbyists and iGadget fans. And of course, we are now fully immersed in the social media and mobile epochs, meaning that simple things like meeting up with friends, and finding venues will work very differently than they have in the past. And many people I’m used to seeing at the show won’t be there: they’ve moved on in their careers or, like me, haven’t been able to justify the trip in a tough economy. Social media comes into play here, too, as people find ways to connect without schlepping across county to shoulder a plastic bag and a laptop on a trade show floor for three days.

But the more profound change for me is that I will not be attending as a member of the press; gifted with an all-access pass to sessions, parties, and the mix-and-mingle center that is the press room. I can handle buying my own bottled water (gasp!), and even the inevitable sorting that goes on when an acquaintance or vendor peers at your badge and discovers that you are but another attendee (and potential customer), not a writer they want to impress. The challenging part will be physical separation from the friends, colleagues, and mover/shaker types who cleave to the behind-the-scenes spaces where one can relax, type out a news story, or scarf down a sandwich between vendor appointments. It is in these places that you run into people you need to run into.

And here I should take a moment to mention my reason for making the trip. I have a book project in the works, and I need to plug it to anyone who will listen. I’m still writing, so my promotional efforts are in the nature of a warning. Look out, because sometime this spring, awesomeness is headed your way, and I’ll be asking your help to promote it. I’ll have more to say about the book as we reach Macworld week and beyond. I need to keep you coming back here, don’t I?

August 22, 2012

Macworld Review: ReFind

Filed under: Announcements — Shelly Brisbin @ 7:33 AM

Here’s my Macworld review of ReFind, a tool that provides quick access to frequently-used files and folders.

August 17, 2012

Macworld Review: Cookie Stumbler

Filed under: Announcements — Shelly Brisbin @ 7:36 AM

I review Cookie Stumbler, which will find and remove cookies from your Mac.

August 1, 2012

Macworld Review: FileXaminer

Filed under: Announcements,General Store,New Media and Tech — Shelly Brisbin @ 11:28 AM

Here is my most recent piece; a review of. FileXaminerr. As I say in the review, it’s like Get Info on steroids.

July 25, 2012

Guest Appearance: WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings

Filed under: Announcements,Cocktails and Spirits,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:05 AM

I experienced my first proper whisky tasting at Tales of the Cocktail in 2008. As I recall, the tasting mat featured six Maccallans, and they were excellent. Two other very important points: F. Paul Pacult of The Spirit Journal fame led the tasting, and it took place at 10 AM. That’s what I call a baptism by fire.

This year’s Tales of the Cocktail is happening right now, and I wish I could be there! Twitter makes it both super fun, and utter misery to miss out, since so many people I follow are lighting up the ‘tubes with their experience.

But my week has not been entirely spirit-free. On Sunday, I had the great pleasure of being a panelist on Mark Gillespie’s excellent WhiskyCast Virtual Tastings podcast. I appeared on the first (beta) edition of the show, and I was honored that Mark was kind enough to have me back.

I’ll leave it to you to listen to the show, but I will say that the panel was full of Texans, and at least one whisky we tried is a lone star product.

July 17, 2012

Macworld Review: NetUse Traffic Monitor

Filed under: Announcements,General Store — Tags: , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:06 AM

You’ll be seeing several short reviews from me over at NetUse Traffic Monitor keeps track of Internet usage on your local network.

June 28, 2012

App Store Pundit Reviews Apple’s Podcasts App

Filed under: Announcements,General Store,Podcast Appearances,Podcasting — Tags: , , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 3:03 PM

If you follow Apple at all, AND care about podcasts, you probably know about the new Podcasts app for iOS devices. I took it for a spin on the latest episode of App Store Pundit. Did I like it? You’ll have to listen to find out.

Don’t you hate when people write promo copy like that?

March 9, 2012

App Store Pundit Returns

Filed under: Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:11 AM

My iOS review podcast, App Store Pundit, is back! I posted the first new review last night, with lots more to come. If you have suggestions for apps to review, leave a comment on the site, like the Facebook page, or drop me a line.

App Store Pundit is a short audio podcast, providing quick reviews of paid and free iOS-compatible apps. I focus on app features, interface, cost, and “gee whiz” factor. I also let you know whether the app is accessible using iOS’ VoiceOver. The idea is to give listeners a comprehensive mainstream review with added information that will be useful to blind and visually impaired iOS users. I’m also very interested in value for money. Most paid apps are relatively inexpensive, but I expect more from and app that costs $4.99 than I do from a $.99 app. A lot more.

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