Accessible #3: Steven Goes to San Jose

Recorded inside Apple's Podcasts studio at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, Steven interviews three special guests about their work and what Apple's WWDC announcements mean for accessibility. He sat down with Apple's Senior Director of Global Accessibility Policy & Initiatives, Sarah Herrlinger, AssistiveWare CEO David Niemeijer, and WWDC18 student scholarship winner John Ciocca.

Accessible Reborn

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The show art is courtesy of Simon “forgottentowel” Buckmaster, who’s done artwork for Relay FM. 

At long last, it returns. I’m excited to announce the resurrected Accessible podcast.

First, a quick history lesson. The show’s original run dates back to 2013–2014, a time when my career in tech journalism was in its infancy. The show’s premise was simple: A (then) weekly podcast about accessibility in tech, mostly seen through an Apple-focused lens. Accessible was part of the now-defunct Constellation FM podcast network, and it had a good but brief run. Apple featured it in iTunes for a while under “New & Noteworthy,” and we even had sponsors! Squarespace was a sponsor at one point; I still have the old ad read as a text file stored in my Dropbox. And there were guests too—Stephen Hackett and Jared Sinclair were two notable ones.

Accessible’s original run marked my first foray into the world of podcasting, and I enjoyed doing it very much. As time went on, however, life got in the way of me and my co-host, so our work on the show waned to the point it ceased to exist. We just stopped, and unfortunately lost touch with each other altogether in the process. In fact, none of the audio exists anywhere online today. Since it ended four years ago, my career has blossomed and I’ve grown a nice audience. Most of my friends and colleagues podcast regularly, and as a podcast lover, I’ve listened to countless hours of their shows over time. It eventually reached a point where, coinciding with my burgeoning writing career, that I began to really miss podcasting. More to the point, I increasingly felt I should be podcasting—I should augment my written work on Apple accessibility by talking about it too. So, after much procrastination and preparation, here I am.

Rather, here we are. I’m doing Accessible with my friend Timothy Buck.

Tim is a product manager who, like me, lives in San Francisco. We’ve been friends several years; we’ve had coffee many times, over which we had many discussions about rebooting Accessible. He’s a great guy and I couldn’t be more excited to be working with him on the show. As one friend recently told me, I “picked the right partner... he’s an amazing dude.”

Round 2 of the show has the exact same premise as before: Accessibility in tech, with an Apple bend. This time, though, we’ll be doing the show fortnightly... so listeners will get two episodes per month. And like the old show, we’re planning on having guests—we have an exciting, ever-growing list in Notes of people we’d like to have on the show.

In a broad sense, I think bringing back Accessible is important for the Apple podcasting scene. While there are accessibility-minded podcasts out there, I’m frustrated at the general lack of discussion about it on most shows, including all of the “AAA” shows most Apple nerds are familiar with. To be clear: This isn’t me being critical of the people doing the shows; I know everyone doing them and they’re all smart as hell. The issue is simply accessibility is too important a topic not to cover, even though it’s admittedly abstract and hard to understand in places. It’s difficult to talk about something you can’t easily relate to. Still, it’s a subject deserving of our attention. Accessibility is a major facet of all Apple products, and certainly has relevance to the rumor mill as well when ruminating on potential future products.

Put another way: The Apple community needs to talk about accessibility more than it does.

Thus, our hope for Accessible is to bring some of that conversation to the forefront. As a disabled person and as someone who is looked upon as the “expert” on this topic, I’m hoping that, if we do it right, Accessible can be a trusted source of coverage and analysis of Apple-related topics from a different perspective. To diversify the conversation is, I believe, to enrich the conversation. We hope the conversations we have on the podcast help listeners see Apple (and other companies) in a different light than usual.

As of this writing, we’ve recorded an Episode 0 and will be recording the first real episode shortly. We’re excited about the early enthusiasm for the show, and we’re excited to get to work and get the show off the ground and see where it goes. We hope you’ll join us on our journey. Any questions or comments can be directed to us on Twitter or via email. We would love to hear from you on how we’re doing!

You can subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts and in Overcast.

Transcript of Lisa Jackson on The Talk Show #188

There's now a transcript of Apple VP Lisa Jackson's appearance on The Talk Show to discuss Apple's efforts around Earth Day and the environment. If you haven't already listened, it's a great episode. Highly recommended.

I mentioned on Twitter how, on my old podcast, I lamented about the need for transcription in podcasting for accessibility. Thus, efforts like this—iMore's Serenity Caldwell helped here—are truly wonderful. Transcription is a hard, expensive problem, but we need to keep wokring at it in the name of inclusiveness.

On James Comey and the Clinton Email Scandal

Yesterday's (April 24, 2017) episode of The Daily is the best one yet. I'm loving this show, and this episode is a must-listen if you haven't already. (To listen in Overcast, click here.)

'What's Apple's Next Chapter in Podcasting?'

Great read, as always, from Jason Snell at Six Colors:

Cue’s remarks at Code Media could easily be interpreted as mumbly marketing-speak by an executive who doesn’t have anything to say. But I take Cue at his word that Apple is “working on new features for podcasts,” and that the company has noted the huge resurgence of podcasting. I suspect that, after more than a decade of slumber, Apple’s about to become much more active on the podcasting front.