Dear AccessWorld Readers,
It seems that I have been saying this a great deal lately, but time really does fly. Once again, we are closing out another volume of AccessWorld; at this point, we have published a full 22 volumes of the magazine. I thought I would use this space to review AccessWorld in 2021 to date. Remember, if you wish to review old issues of AccessWorld going back to our original publication in 2000, you can do so on the Back Issues page.
Each January, we celebrate the birthday of Louis Braille with an issue of AccessWorld focused on braille. This year, our braille focused content included a braille retrospective from Jamie Pauls, A review of several 40 cell braille displays by Scott Davert, and an article detailing Braille by Sight from Hadley by Steve Kelley. In addition, J.J. Meddaugh brought us a review of the new Chromecast from Google and Janet Ingber reviewed the 2020 release of the Mac operating system, Big Sur.
Originally, our February issue focused on seniors exclusively, though over the years, the content has expanded to anyone with low vision, then even further to anyone who is also new to vision loss, no matter their age. This year, We published our first piece of sponsored content, a look at the Lookout app from Google. With a focus on the new user of assistive technology, Bill Holton brought us a guide to his most important accessible apps for the iOS platform. J.J. Meddaugh covered the first Sight Tech Global accessibility conference, with the coverage of this year's conference in this (December 2021) issue of AccessWorld. Steve Kelley reviewed the Blind Shell classic Light while Janet Ingber reviewed Netflix in the first of our new Streaming Video Service series. Finally, Deborah Kendrick informed us of the compact and accessible HP LaserJet M15W Laser Printer.
The AccessWorld issues from March through June do not have specific focuses but cover whatever is most pertinent at the time. In March this year, Deborah Kendrick brought us the Employment Matters article interviewing Matthew Campbell, Chief Technology Officer, Pneuma Solutions while Steve Kelley discussed YouTube TV in the second installment of our Streaming Video Services series. To finish the issue, Jamie Pauls reviewed the Google Meet videoconferencing service for the second installment of his Conferencing Programs series and Janet Ingber finished the issue with a review of Apple Fitness Plus.
Bill Holton started the April issue with a look at the Supersense app from Mediate, followed by Janet Ingber's review of Disney+ for our Streaming Video series. In addition, Steve Kelley reviewed YouTube Music for the first entry in our Streaming Audio Service series while Deborah Kendrick finished out the issue with a discussion of Ski for Light International 2021.
The May issue of AccessWorld was a full one, with Deborah Kendrick starting things off with an interview with Jim Kracht, retired Miami-Dade County attorney. Following this, Judy Dixon published her first AccessWorld article, a guide to LiDAR on the iPhone. In Android coverage, J.J. Meddaugh discussed the updates to the TalkBack screen reader and Steve Kelley reviewed Google's Lookout app. To finish the issue, Janet Ingber reviewed Apple Music for the Streaming Audio series and Jamie Pauls evaluated the game titled Untold RPG for iOS.
In June, we have more Streaming Video with a review of Apple TV+ by Judy Dixon followed by an article on two popular audio item trackers, Tile vs AirTag by Janet Ingber. Reviewing something I find myself on frequently, J.J. Meddaugh tells us about the Clubhouse app, now open to everyone. Bill Holton describes two different podcasts that provide audio description in his article, Audio Description Isn't Just for Video. We finish out this issue with two book reviews of books published by AccessWorld authors: Audio Description: What It Is, Where to Find It, and How to Use It, by Judy Dixon (reviewed by Janet Ingber) and Basics for the Beginning User: Mac OS 11 Big Sur Update, by Janet Ingber (reviewed by Steve Kelley).
We return to focused issues with the July, "Back to School" issue. For our focused content in this issue, we have "Reading Print with Low Vision" by Steve Kelley, "Supercharge Your Braille Reading for Pleasure and Productivity " by Judy Dixon, and "Take a Note: A History of Braille Note Taking" by Deborah Kendrick. To finish the issue, we have "Product Review: The Brailliant Bi 40X Braille Display from HumanWare" by Deborah Kendrick, "A Recap of the 2021 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) Keynote" by Janet Ingber, and "Vision Tech: New Research into Glaucoma" by Bill Holton.
August is our most recent focused issue and contains information on Entrepreneurship and personal finance. The issue began as a focused issue in 2019 with an emphasis on Entrepreneurship alone, though it was changed to also to focus on personal finance as to not overlap with October's employment focus. This year, we focused on personal finance for our topical article: "A Guide to Using Mobile Check Deposit and Some Helpful Accessories" by Judy Dixon and "Online Payment Platforms: An Evaluation of Accessibility, Part I: PayPal and Venmo" by Jamie Pauls. The issue also contains "When Old is New Again, Part I: What's Happening With some "Vintage" Access Technology Tools" by Deborah Kendrick, "Video Streaming Services, Part 5: The Accessibility of Hulu for Users with Visual Impairments" by Janet Ingber, and "RAZ Mobility MiniVision2 Mobile Phone for Users with Visual Impairments" by Steve Kelley.
For September, we published an interview with Dr. Hoby Wedler who was a featured guest on our centennial conversation Dinner and Music for a Historic Celebration. The issue also included the articles "Touching the News and Other Tactile Graphics Offerings from the San Francisco LightHouse" by Judy Dixon, "Video Streaming Services, Part 6: Amazon Prime Video: An Enormous Range of Content" also by Judy Dixon, and "Talking to Louie" by Steve Kelley.
For this year's October, employment focused, issue, we featured sponsored content from the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle. In addition, the issue also included the 7th part in our video streaming series, a review of Peacock from Janet Ingber. With the release of iOS 15, Judy Dixon detailed the new mainstream features in this version of the operating system while Janet Ingber discussed the accessibility features. Finally, J.J. Meddaugh reviewed Hearthstone, a mainstream video game that has recently become accessible. Hearthstone has quickly become one of my favorite games and is definitely worth a look.
Closing out the year to date is our Holiday issue, published in November. The issue contains Janet Ingber's now traditional shopping guide, this year focusing on Chewy, Zappos, and Best Buy. We at AFB also brought you a gift guide with recommendations from myself as well as other AFB staff. Deborah Kendrick detailed the achievements of recent MacArthur Grant winner, Joshua A. Miele while Jamie Pauls reviewed the BrailleSense 6. Finally, Steve Kelley described the Vision Buddy wearable.
As a bonus, the following were the top three viewed articles this year:
- A Guide to Using Mobile Check Deposit and Some Helpful Accessories by Judy Dixon
- Video Streaming Services, Part 1: Getting Started with Netflix for People with Visual Impairments by Janet Ingber
- Employment Matters: Jim Kracht, Retired Miami-Dade County Attorney
Thank you for being readers of AccessWorld and I hope that you have a wonderful rest of 2021!
This article is made possible in part by generous funding from the James H. and Alice Teubert Charitable Trust, Huntington, West Virginia.