Halide, the camera application that actually takes good pictures, won the Apple Design Award. (Then again, so had Interarchy, now dead as a doornail, with no replacement remotely as good.) Halide’s cocreator, Ben Sandofsky, is a homophobe and a blackmailer. (Also “deranged”?)

  • Since 100% of blind people with iPhones take pictures (they’ve photographed me), and since camera applications have poor accessibility, long ago I pitched Halide for a small amount of work – later I would describe it as “a pittance” – to make the application highly accessible. They liked the idea, then hired some girl instead.

    As I recently wrote to Sandofsky:

    Surely you recall this exchange from 2018:

    Looking at the Medium version of the release notes, I see something that differs from the iOS version of same:

    A Big Accessibility Push

    We care deeply about Accessibility and have improved Halide with every update to make it easier to use for all users, but this update is our biggest push yet. It features support for Dynamic and Bold Type throughout, VoiceOver support and many more enhancements. Even our 30 second timer option was included with Accessibility in mind, offering users with limited mobility more freedom to take photos.

    That being said, we’re not done: this year we’ve worked with noted accessibility specialist Sommer Panage.

    In other words, you hired somebody else. Unless she worked for free.

    I ran this by one of my friends who actually can even notice girls in the first place, and his first response was “Maybe she’s better-looking than you.” (Shall we lay odds?)

    Were you going to mention that at any point?

    We will continue our push to make Halide the most accessible camera app around. If you are a user that benefits from these features, we’d love to hear your feedback on our implementation and how we can further improve.

    My feedback is “I thought I pitched you guys first. What do I have to do to close a deal here?”

    Also, the app still isn’t usable in VoiceOver in a few important ways.

    I looked over all our E‑mails and what happened was straightforward: I showed up trying to secure a pittance of work improving the accessibility of Halide. You led me down a garden path about a cut of royalties (I beg your pardon?), then stopped replying, then hired “noted accessibility specialist Sommer Panage” (no relation).

    Now you’ve won the Apple Design Award. Why don’t we do accessibility properly, using onboard machine learning to far exceed what the built-in Camera application can do? Why don’t we make Halide work conveniently for someone with a severe mobility impairment of the arms or hands? Why don’t we, at the very least, label the inscrutable controls?

    I suggest there is still work to be done. I further suggest you were always able to afford me (I reiterate: “a pittance of work”) and surely can now.

  • Sandofsky responded with a lengthy jeremiad, accusing me of having sent “deranged” E‑mails, and concluding with an actual threat:

    The “pittance” I will give you is sharing this feedback in private. Do not contact me again.

    In other words, Ben Sandofsky threatened to – what? – embarrass me publicly? Air our dirty laundry?

  • I am called upon to forgive those who trespass against me, but I will not stand for naked contempt, nor any attempt to assert dominance over me. Halide had a chance to hire a gay man to fix its accessibility problem, but chose instead to hire a much more compliant female – then lie about the process.

    Sandofsky would be ill-advised to carry out his tempest-in-teapot threat. I have all our E‑mails ready to publish in a tagged PDF, and will do that if he so much as looks at me funny.

  • Worse for him, as a gay man I have considerably more diversity arrows in my quiver than, say, girls or Jews do, and, despite the thoroughgoing corruption of the system that even cares about such things, I will remorselessly use them if needed. Starting now, in fact: Ben Sandofsky is a homophobe and a blackmailer.

The kicker? Of course I’ll continue to use Halide. At least in that application I can figure out how to turn the flash on and off.

(Next up: That Apple “engineer,” whose beloved hound had at a previous time curled up in my lap, lecturing me to my face about how I would never work there.)

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2022.06.29 15:54. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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