AT Banter Episode 56 – Debra Ruh

We’re honored to be chatting with Debra Ruh, founder and CEO of Ruh Global Communication, and talk with her about the worldwide state of accessibility and inclusion in today’s corporate community.

Show Notes
Ruh Global Communications
Human Potential at Work Podcast

AT Banter Episode 55 – Jessica Rickards and Cool Blind Tech

Jessica Rickards, co-host and contributor at Cool Blind Tech, joins us for a bantering session to talk about the podcast, some of her favorite Assistive Technology, and even a little bit of politics.

Show Notes
Cool Blind Tech
Subscribe to Cool Blind Tech

AT Banter Episode 54 – Quentin Christensen and NVDA

Quentin Christensen, Training Material Developer at NV-Access, joins us this week to talk about NVDA, the free open source Screen Reader as well as the state of screen readers in the marketplace today.

Show Notes
NV Access: The main home of NVDA
NVDA on GitHub
NVDA issues on GitHub: Bug reports, feature requests, etc.
NVDA development snapshots: Automatically generated builds of the project in its current state of development
NVDA add-ons: Get add-ons to enhance NVDA
Translating NVDA: Information about how to translate NVDA into another language
NVDA community wiki: Articles contributed by the community
NVDA Controller Client (2010-02-19): NVDA API for external applications to directly speak or braille messages, etc.
NVDA Developer Guide
Contributing to NVDA: Guidelines for contributing to the NVDA source code
NVDA development email list (archives): Discussion about NVDA development
NVDA commits email list: Notifications for all commits to the Git repository


AT Banter – The Anniversary Show

It’s finally here .. the promised Anniversary Show! We mark our one year anniversary of the podcast by taking a break from our normal subject matter and breaking out the Tequila for a silly, stream-of-consciousness stroll through Memory Lane and any other topic that happens to come up. WARNING: Tequila was involved in the making of this podcast, so some salty language may be included.

AT Banter Episode 53 – Erich Manser

This week we talk with Erich Manser, Triathlete and Marathon Runner, about his experience running the Boston Marathon with a new technology called Aira. On a completely unrelated note, we all decide we need to get more exercise….

Show Notes
Erich Manser at IBM Accessibility
Aira Visual Interpreter
Erich’s Marathon Report and Assessment of Aira
Challenge: Autonomous for All of Us

What is AT Banter?

Well, to me — it’s many things.

It’s a weekly opportunity to see a couple of guys that I’ve grown pretty close to over a period of over 15 years, have a few laughs with them, and talk about issues that are important to the three of us.

It’s a dedicated, weekly time sink that requires me to edit, clean-up, and post an hour long show to a Friday morning deadline, sometimes requiring me to shuffle around any number of other tasks or activities in order to ensure it’s on time.

It’s an opportunity for myself (and my co-hosts, Ryan Fluery and Steve Barclay) to learn, whether it’s regarding a new emerging technology that’s being applied to Assistive Technology or a story from a guest regarding their personal struggles and how they overcame them.

But most of all, it’s a passion project, the result of a marketing meeting over ciders at the lunch room table of Aroga Technologies. A crazy, out-of-the-box (well, at least for us) idea borne out of the desire to help give the company’s social media network a boost and another chance to produce some valuable  content and information for the community.

We initially imagined a short, 20 minute audio podcast specifically about Assistive Technology products that Aroga sold, interspersed with industry news and released on a bi-monthly basis. My co-worker and cubicle-mate of almost 15 years, Ryan Fluery, provided a key sounding board and the more we talked about it, the more developed the plan became.

Before long, we pitched the idea to Steve Barclay, our long time supervisor and now part owner of the company. He loved the idea and agreed to participate in it, despite his days already being full with trying to keep the company running smoothly.

Ryan was the office audiophile, so he knew all about the various audio components that we’d need. He used his own credit card and Amazon account and began amassing a snake’s nest of cables, microphones, and even a 4-channel mixing board. We convinced head office to order us a new desktop computer that would serve as a recording device and technical hub that would host the various software packages that were needed.

Then, on a sunny Spring day in May, the inaugural episode of what Ryan had started calling ‘AT Banter’ was recorded – and it was an unmitigated disaster. As it turns out, Podcasting is right up there with golfing, yoga, dancing, horseback riding and marriage as something that looks deceptively easy but is in actuality quite difficult to do.

Recorded while the three of us were crammed into my office, the episode was resplendent with audio problems, verbal gaffes, and long, drawn out lulls of silence while Steve, Ryan and I sat unsure of what to say next. We powered through it and, once the mics were turned off, we had managed to record over 35 minutes of somewhat shaky content.

That first episode, despite its brevity, took me a week to edit and clean up. It was a trial by fire bringing into Adobe Audition, a new software package for me to learn on the fly. I spent my days learning all about noise reduction filters, compression, and sweetening the mix so we didn’t sound like we were mumbling into tin cans on the ocean floor. I sweet-talked our normally shy receptionist, Rachel, into recording the voice over for the intro and outro and placed it over a bed of royalty free music, created a Soundcloud account, a WordPress site that would serve as home base, an RSS feed, and submitted it to iTunes.

And a podcast was born.

Since that day in May, we’ve spent countless hours planning, researching, and recording. We’ve talked about everything from Braille Literacy and emergent Brain Computer Interface technology to the portrayal of Disability in comic books. We’ve talked to passionate entrepreneurs starting non-profits and we’ve talked to YouTube celebrities. We even managed to get our ugly mugs on TV, being featured on a segment on AMI-TV’s AMI This Week.

So, what is AT Banter?

Well, despite its flaws that any established or professional broadcaster or podcaster may point out, it’s something I’m insanely proud of and passionate about. I feel privileged to work alongside Ryan Fleury and Steve Barclay, two guys that have been members of my work family for longer than I care to admit  (let’s just say that we all had a lot more hair when we all started working together). Together we’ve managed to maintain and grow AT Banter far beyond what any of us expected. We continue to develop the show and learn not only about the art of podcasting itself, but also about the community that are most proudly are a part of.

As we forge ahead into Year 2, we continue to be faced with challenges we weren’t expecting, sometimes overcoming our own set of adversities using metaphorical bubblegum and band-aids (although at times we are lucky enough to procure duct tape – both figurative as well as literal). But through it all, the three of us still maintain our passion for the industry, our love for the community, and the desire to make the world a slightly better place than we found it.

Rob Mineault
June 2, 2017