Simulated Sighted Stranger

iOS and iPadOS
Dear Friends: I am a blind iOS user living in California and I have just released my first iOS app. Simulated Sighted Stranger is a hilarious app that includes a rich library of audio clips simulating the things that blind people have heard a million times as we make our way through life. Classics like "you're going the wrong way," and "watch yourself," are randomly selected from a constantly growing library of sounds with just a shake of your iPhone or a tap of the button. Please feel free to e-mail me your contributions for possible inclusion! This app is intended to crack us up, but also offers educational possibilities. Orientation and mobility instructors can use it to discuss possible ways of responding to well-meaning, but uninformed, strangers. Disability awareness trainers can use it to stimulate discussion about why these comments are unhelpful. And of course, blind people can use it to laugh about the funny stuff sighted people say (bless their hearts)! Part of the satire of this app is also to poke a little good-natured fun at some of the other wayfinding apps currently being sold. Simulated Sighted Stranger has the unique power of being 100% unreliable -- I don't think any other wayfinding apps can claim this! An added joke is that Apple originally rejected Simulated Sighted Stranger because they were afraid it might be offensive to blind people. I was able to convince them that, while not all blind people think it is as funny as I do, it is relatively inoffensive. Of course, there may be one or two thin-skinned sighted folks around, but this app is intended to be good-natured fun, and shouldn't hurt anybody's feelings. Please check it out and spread the word!



Submitted by Joshua A. Miele on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

After only a few hours in the app store, Simulated Sighted Stranger was pulled without explanation. I'll keep you informed as to any new developments...

Submitted by Santiago on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hello, When iTunes launches with the given link, a message pops up saying that the item isn't available in the U.S store.

Submitted by Sheri w-j on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Poor dears! :) More thin-skinned than expected, I guess! I'm disappointed. Do give a holler as soon as its back up . Sounds like good fun to me

How did you create/write this app? I've heard that Apple's developer tools are not the most accessible, but if there is a way to do it I think a lot of us would be very interested to know. Thanks, Michael

I also thought about learning to write IOS apps and was put off. I'd love to learn more about the IOS development process from a blind person's perspective.

Submitted by Joseph on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In reply to by Sheri w-j

Yeah, no kidding! I'd have loved to try it out.

Michael and others: Sorry to say that I didn't develop it myself. I hired a programmer. However, I have heard of a few blind iOS developers here and there. I'll try to find out what they're using and post here. I think the first and most important thing is to be on a Mac. Developing for iOS on Windows or Linux is a non-starter.

Submitted by Joshua A. Miele on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hi! It is slow going in getting an answer as to why Simulated Sighted Stranger was pulled from the app store. So far, there is actually no information on iTunes Connect as to why it got pulled. I submitted an inquiry, and the tech support folks don't seem to know why either. I'm hoping to get it back up as soon as possible and will post here when it is again available. I'll also try to get some promo codes for you guys. Thanks for the interest and support!

Submitted by Sheri w-j on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

I have this irrational belief that PC programming has to be easier: no doubt it's a product of the ASCII/DOS days when all one had to do to get the computer to dance and do tricks was modify the .bat file. I'd guess Josh is right about the need to be in a Mac environment to program for the iPhone, and yes, that does sound like loads of fun. I guess the iPhone is a *gateway* device...

Submitted by rdfreak on Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In reply to by JT

yes it does sound like a fun app; imagine all the tricks I could play on my sighted peers, not to mentioning generating random comments to make folks laugh at work when all goes quiet. :) My personal belief would be that perhaps it would pulled for the reason apple declined it in the first place. I guess there is a fine line between educating people (such as the apple staff) what would offend some verses others. IE, It is good that apple is at least considering our feelings yet at the same time, it's hard to turn around and educate them all that some of us love, and have been taught to appreciate, this type of humour.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

I agree.  I can understand why Apple would not want such an app in the store, as some could view its content as defamitory.  I would personally find the app to be amusing, but there are plenty of people who won't and I honestly don't think I could blame them.

Yeah, but I still wish that apple would at least have a more open mind about the whole thing. but that's just me.

Submitted by Sheri w-j on Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In reply to by Joseph

I can't imagine that 'offensive' is the problem. Never mind 'blind frog' and any number of other apps that I personally think have 'hopped' well over the 'offensive' line. (You could make a lovely, long list if you like of apps I find offensive to blind people which are doing well in the app store.) ... My glass-half-full interpretation is some kind of silly, red-tape issue. You want to be offended in terms of gender, race, orientation, age, ability, religion, etc. there's lots out there to disagree with. Download 'tooth camp' if you want a thorough going over... So, I'm hopeful that this will be resolved soon? Or... unless, Josh has captured too carefully what people really say, magic happened, and somebody thought: "Man, that just isn't right."

Submitted by Ekaj on Monday, July 7, 2014

Hi Josh and all. First off, I think I remember seeing your name on the discussion list for the ACB's Audio Description Project. I need to re-subscribe to that list. Getting back on topic though, I don't own an i-device but I think this app would be loads of fun and hope it can be ported to the Mac sometime. That is, if Apple ever puts it back in the App Store. I, too, can see where this might be a great educational tool. BTW, this coming from someone whose independent outdoor travel skills are currently lacking. That said though, I have been prayed for when on walks and had these kind of well-intended but misinformed comments thrown at me.

Submitted by Joseph on Monday, July 7, 2014

From what I can tell from the comments, I wouldn't see this app as being offensive. Hell, I make jokes like that all the time and my family and friends always, always get a good laugh out of it. They even joke with me about it as well.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, July 7, 2014

I don't think there's a single person here who would be offended, after all we're all blind so we understand the pitfalls of this disability and somehow, we just manage to get by! smiles I hope the app can be re-instated, but given Apple's weirdness with app submitions, I don't know if we'll ever see this. Hell of an idea, though. might be good after a particularly frustrating day of dealing with the silly sighted folks around. :)

Submitted by steven carey on Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Dear all,
This is indeed an interesting discussion. As a researcher in the United Kingdom who's area of study is the history of disablism, Apple's views concerning this app and its possible sensitive nature (if it is why it has been pulled) is worth discussing. Some years ago I wrote a paper on the 1992 film 'Scent of a Woman' by Universal Pictures which featured Al Pacino as a blind ex-army soldier and his antics in New York. I have not seen this app but from the description here, the film told a similar story about how blind people are treated and the perceptions of sighted people to us. This film was seen as a milestone in what blind people experience in everyday life and I'm sure if Universal Pictures were celebrated for the tackling of a sensitive subject all those years ago, I'm sure Apple will not experience any adverse comments now we are in the 21st Century? I'd certainly love the opportunity to use this app and my sighted friends and family would indeed find it funny.


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