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

June 2, 2016

Noir City Austin #3

Filed under: Classic Film — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:14 AM

The third installment of the Film Noir Foundation’s (FNF) Noir City Austin filled my weekend. The Alamo Drafthouse’ downtown branch — specifically, Theater 1 — played host to two days and three nights of hard-boiled classics, including a few rarities and new restorations. I want to write about a couple of the films I saw, but let’s start with a bit of an introduction to the roadshow version of Noir City.

Eddie Muller’s Film Noir Foundation has hosted the annual festival of dark films in San Francisco for the past fourteen years. It’s a big deal, in a historical theater, and it attracts celebrity guests on both sides of the screen. A few years ago, FNF branched out, bringing Noir City to agreeable cities around the country. Austin got its first Noir City three years ago; not the week-plus marathon of the Sn Francisco mother festival, but a jam-packed weekend of screenings hosted at the Alamo Drafthouse. The Alamo, it should be noted, has branched out, too, and you’ll even find one in the FNF’s hometown.

Beyond educating and entertaining audiences by presenting great films on the big screen, FNF uses Noir City to evangelize its mission to preserve the history of noir. Film prints fall into disrepair over time. Ownership changes, and the commitment of studios and other rights-holders to preserving films that have little commercial appeal tends to waiver. FNF works with film preservationists, locating missing film elements, and funding restorations. These cleaned up, great-looking prints usually form the backbone of a Noir City event, bringing rarely screened titles, and a much improved viewing experience to film fans.

June 1, 2016

Dropped Names Bonk Diversity on its Head

Filed under: New Media and Tech,Podcasting — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:00 AM

I listened to a well-known Apple-focused podcast the other day. The show is prat of a tech podcast network, and also part of a somewhat larger circle of people who, broadly speaking, cover the Apple beat. From this episode, I learned that the hosts love their iPads, their iOS apps, and their kind sponsors. I learned that they, like this week’s guest, have many friends who say things about Apple on their own tech podcasts. Actually, I knew that already, but the name dropping this week was especially heavy. The hosts’ mentions of their friends did not include a journalistic-style ID, just a first and last name for each colleague. In these familiar confines, no explanation seems necessary.

I can put myself in the minds of these hosts: they probably listen to the shows produced by their friends. They likely share a Slack channel. And drawing their combined Twitter feeds on a social graph would certainly produce a tight, overlapping set of circles. I have been that person, interacting with a smallish group of people who make and consume the same content, attend the same conferences, and venerate the same tech products, right down to the apps and phone cases they use. But when I listen in, I’m an outsider. I consume a few tech podcasts; shows that meet my interest in efficient delivery of information without a lot of chatter. I do not engage fully in the interlocking clusters of shows and networks that have developed around the Apple beat. Sure, my engagement is limited by my desire to listen to other kinds of shows, but I have always found fanboy insularity and group think to be a problem in Apple land. And podcasting has made it worse, with practitioners assuming that everyone listens to the same shows, and knows the same people. Uniformity of perspective, in-jokes, and a tendency toward referencing and respecting the same thought leaders make it difficult, and even a waste of time to listen to more than a few of these connected shows.

A few networks and thought leader types have made noises about diversity. It’s a thing now, right?  Occasional adjustments to guest lists sometimes result in a slight opening of the tent to new voices. But so long as referencing one’s friends is endemic, and, more problematically, producers assume the audience has the same friends, real diversity doesn’t stand a chance in tech podcasting, or anywhere in media.

May 19, 2016

Less Than or Equal Guest Shot: My Beef with Tech Journalism

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Tags: , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 12:56 PM

I was honored to join Aleen Sims on episode #89 of her podcast, Less Than or Equal. It’s a great show, where you will meet a wide range of people, many of whom are not among the usual suspects of podcast guests (present company excepted, I guess.) We talked about the reasons accessibility is often invisible in the mainstream tech world, and why I get grumpy when I read (or don’t read) about accessibility in mainstream tech publications. I did that thing where I talk really fast, so increase the speed of your podcatchnr’s playback (Overcast is great for this) and have a listen. I would love your feedback, too.

May 10, 2016

Try, Try Again

Filed under: Classic Film,Random Personal Nonsense — Shelly Brisbin @ 1:02 PM

I have always intended this blog to be a place to collect the work, and other creative projects I make. I created categories and design elements that would make it possible for someone who shares my interest in accessibility, podcasting, or cocktails, to follow just the posts and plugs for those topics. But some projects got more attention from me than others, and a few simply taunt me from the sidebar. Now i’m enlisting you in my effort to broaden and deepen my involvement in what the mashed up there calls long tails. To cut to the chase, your job is to hold me accountable in whatever way you wish to. Spam comments do not count.

Here’s where we’ll start. I read blogs about classic film every day, and watch one or two fabulous old movies a week Last week, I put the #TCMFF hashtag into my Tweetdeck, raptly watching the comings and goings of bloggers I follow. But wishing I’d been in LA for the TCM Classic Film Fesival, or even wishing I’d created a classic film blog or podcast has generated zero results. If I’m going to earn the Classic Film category I made for the blog, I’m gonna have to write.

First project is Noir City Austin, the local imprint of the Film Noir Foundation’s festival of classic, dark movies. I have tickets to five of the seven double features, and I’m committing to at least two posts; either reviews of individual films, or appreciations of the Noir City event itself. 

Next on the calendar, and this is one where promising a contribution to a group project injects an element of personal responsibility, I’ve signed up to participate in a blogathon that goes live in July. In the film blogging world, blogathons are a thing. An organizer sets a theme, and people who want to write about that theme sign up to participate. The organizer posts links to everyone’s work on the appointed day, and voluminous Web traffic results. Or it should result. I’ll announce the actual blogathon later, but I will say that I’m writing about the 1932 Walter Huston film, American Madness

Stay tuned, and, if you’re so inclined, help keep me honest.

March 10, 2016

Best Android Apps for People with Low Vision

Filed under: Announcements,New Media and Tech — Shelly Brisbin @ 1:04 PM

People think I’m an Apple-only geek. I have done little to dispel this notion, by my book and podcast work. But yay, verily, I offer proof that I can cross the platform when need arises. Here’s my AccessWorld roundup of some nifty Android apps that folks with low vision should find useful.

January 13, 2016

Is Apple TV Truly Accessible to Blind and Visually Impaired Viewers?

Filed under: Announcements,New Media and Tech — Tags: , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 11:41 AM

I tackled the question of Apple TV accessibility for AccessWorld, the monthly magazine of the American Federation for the Blind.

December 14, 2015

One Feed to Rule Them All

Filed under: Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 3:12 PM

You, dear reader, are used to seeing plugs for my podcast appearances here. That is a somewhat boring way to use a perfectly good blog, but I do like to get the word out, and I sometimes forget to post. I’m trying a new thing: a meter feed of podcasts on which I appear. You can subscribe to the feed, or to individual shows, which would be the more normal way to consume the noise I make. On the master feed, It include shows I host and produce, panels where I’m a regular, and other people’s podcasts where I’ve somehow managed to grab a mic. As I write this, I’m still adding “back catalog” to the master feed. I’m only going back to the beginning of 2015. The number is already above 50.

So, if you never want to miss one of my podcasts, copy this feed link into your podcastcher of choice, and prepare yourself.

December 11, 2015

The Parallel Returns

Filed under: Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 3:30 PM

I had a great time making a new episode of The Parallel, with awesome guests Jason Snell and Joe Steinkamp. We chat about one of my favorite subjects, the art (or craft) of podcasting itself. How very meta of us.

November 19, 2015

November is “Podcast Every Single Day” Month

Filed under: Announcements,Podcast Appearances — Shelly Brisbin @ 9:27 AM

Time for another podcast appearance update. I’ve been doing a lot of recording.

Next up, I’ll be announcing availability of the iOS 9 book. 

October 14, 2015

Hey, I’m Writing for AccessWorld

Filed under: Access and Disability,Announcements,New Media and Tech — Tags: , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 6:58 AM

I’m very excited to let you know that I’ve signed on as a contributor to the American Foundation for the Blind’s highly-regarded technology magazine, AccessWorld. My beats include tech products for low-vision users, and mobile stuff for both Android and iOS. My first piece is a review of the Revolution 22’, a hybrid consisting of a video magnifier and an Android tablet. It’s so much fun to be doing product reviews again!

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