My letter to Tim Cook

This is a rough draft but pretty much about what I’m going to send. Dear Mr. Cook,

I went to college at Ball State University, and the year I graduated you released Voiceover on the Mac and IPhone. I applied for a job with Apple, and was hired. I remember being real excited, because this was going to be my first job. I couldn’t sleep the night before I went to work, and I caught the bus to go out to the facility. On my way in a mile from work actually my phone rang, and I was told the job I’d applied for wouldn’t be accessible with Voiceover. I was told to not even bother going to training, since nothing would work for me. I had to call and get a ride home while others were checking in to go to work.

I remember feeling defeated, and this was the first experience I really had outside Ball State of working. What really upset me was I’m totally blind I had been in contact with programmers and my Supervisor for a week before letting them know what accommodations I would need. This means they had at least a week before to know if things would be accessible why wait until the morning that I’m to report.

I’m not asking you to do anything about my situation I’ve moved on, and have a job of my own now. My concern is for blind and visually impaired people that would be hiring in today. I hope Voiceover now works with your systems, and that working with Apple would be achievable now. I just wanted to bring my story to your attention. Even though my experience wasn’t good with going to work with Apple it prepared me for the future. No one ever in my life had a conversation with me about how difficult the job market is, and it’s not often reported. I was going through life like anyone else just looking for a job to support myself, and then that happened and it toughened me up a little. Again I’m not excusing what happened, but things worked out.

I bought my first IPhone in 2009, and haven’t looked back. As you know Apple really was the first company to actually bring accessibility to a mainstream device, and a touch screen to boot. The device has changed my life in so many ways, and it’s hard for me to remember before I had it. I can play games with family members, identify my money, access my network drive from the go, and use GPS while out walking. My first day in college before handheld GPS I used to carry one that had cables all down my body, and I’m sure I looked like a space man, so it’s unbelievable that one device can do so much.

I now have an iPhone, IPad, Apple TV, Mac Air, and Time capsule. Man I didn’t know how many products I had until I just read them wow. Voiceover and Safari it seems is the buggiest part of the new IOS. It’s still useable, but is frustrating, and you have to do a lot of refreshes. Sometimes the phone just crashes and you have to hit the power button 6 times to do a soft reboot. A few months ago I was pretty upset to read one of the National Federation for the Blinds NFB resolutions was to put a lawsuit together to try and make every app accessible. While I would dream of a world where this could be the case logically I don’t get it. Plus why not make the same resolution towards Microsoft and Google don’t they not make phones as well? They upset me only doing things for money not the end result of betterment for blind people I could bring up numerous examples, but I digress.

Recently for home use I bought a MacBook Air. I love it. I don’t know why I waited so long actually I do. I bought a Mac Minnie in 2012, and thought I would love it. Tim it is a box that is so small, but the drawback to it is without a screen Voiceover doesn’t work well. It comes across with a busy message. It was disappointing that I had to by a screen with it, because I just wanted small and simple. I am glad I tried again because my air is amazing. I live in Louisville and my parents live near Fort Wayne Indiana so on Christmas I facetimed them from my Mac. I answer messages on it, take calls from it, and actually get work done as well in fact this message I’m composing on pages. I know you may get a lot of these, but I’ve been meaning to say thank you. There are some bugs, but overall I love my experience and not having to pay thousands of dollars for less technology like we had to do in the older days from things not being accessible. When I went to school for a simple word processer that kept losing my files it cost $1500. I would carry it in my backpack to school when I was in the first grade. To think a kid these days could receive an IPad and do way more with it than I had access to its mind-blowing. I also hope now a blind person could work at an Apple support center and it is accessible today. I would love to work at Apple one day, and I hope this finds you well!

Joe

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