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.
When AccessWorld began, our February issue focused exclusively on seniors. Over the years, the focus first expanded to anyone with low vision, and then to anyone who is also new to vision loss, no matter their age. In February 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 themes, but cover whatever is most pertinent at the time. In March this year, Deborah Kendrick brought us the Employment Matters article profiling Matthew Campbell, Chief Technology Officer of Pneuma Solutions, while Steve Kelley discussed YouTube TV in the second installment of our Streaming Video Services series. 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. 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 covered more Streaming Video with a review of Apple TV+ by Judy Dixon, followed by an article on two popular audio item trackers, Tile and AirTag, by Janet Ingber. J.J. Meddaugh reviewed the Clubhouse app—a platform I visit frequently and which is now open to everyone. Bill Holton looked at two different podcasts that provide audio description. We finished out the 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 theme issues with "Back to School" in July. 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. We finished the issue with "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.
Starting in 2019, the August AccessWorld focused on entrepreneurship and then broadened to include personal finance in order to avoid overlap with October's employment theme. 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 in 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.
Our October issue is dedicated to employment and for 2021 we featured sponsored content from the Lighthouse for the Blind in Seattle. In addition, the issue also included the seventh part in our video streaming series, a review of Peacock from Janet Ingber. Judy Dixon detailed the new mainstream features in iOS 15, while Janet Ingber discussed its 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.
November is the holiday issue. For 2021, Janet Ingber's now-traditional shopping guide looked at Chewy, Zappos, and Best Buy. We at AFB also brought you a gift guide with recommendations from me and 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.
Following are the top three most-viewed articles for 2021:
- 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, by Deborah Kendrick
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.