Wednesday, April 15, 2015

New Bag, New Video

It's been a long time since I've posted a "what's in my bag" update. Back in 2012, I wrote a post as part of my CART Problem Solving series called Schlepping the Gear. At the time, I was using a Tamrac 5550 photo backpack. Since then, I've gone through a Lowepro DSLR Video Fastpack and a Burton Performer Elite Duffel Backpack. The Lowepro was nicely compact, but a bit too small to carry everything I wanted, and the Burton was massive, but far too long and floppy to be at all practical as a daily backpack.

Just as my Lowepro's zippers were gasping their last, I was fortuitously contacted by Christopher of Bagbot. We originally talked about the possibility of me commissioning a custom-designed steno bag from him, but then he pointed me to the Mission Workshop Vandal and said that it seemed to fulfill most if not all of my stated requirements. I bought one and have been using it for a little under a week, taking notes the whole time. I might send it to him for additional customization once I've collected enough real-world usage data, but even out of the box it's a far better solution than anything I've used before. Here's a captioned video of me showing off everything I've been lugging in it for the past several days.

I had to wrap up the video in a bit of a hurry because the university's AV guy suddenly walked into the room I was using, so I forgot to mention the two front pockets:

They contain a flat spool of gaffer's tape and my 4G hotspot.

Anyway, if you have any interest in acquiring a new bag, I highly advise checking out Bagbot. It's a fantastic resource, and Christopher is a ridiculously helpful and knowledgeable guy. It's a massive relief to have a functioning bag again, after several frustrating weeks. I'd recommend the Mission Workshop Vandal to anyone with a ton of gear to haul who wants a durable, flexible, relatively compact bag with a huge amount of potentially expandable space.

If you don't have any steno gear to haul, check out this dude using it for his groceries. (Soundtrack is instrumental music only; captions not required.)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Article on Captioning at SRCCON

Erika Owens has written a fantastic article for Open News on captioning at SRCCON last summer (which is rather less "gee-willikers" in tone than the one posted on in August), and it stands alongside Lindsey Kuper's article Your Next Tech Conference Should Have Realtime Captioning as a beautiful explanation by a non-captioner of why captions are so great for a huge swath of conference attendees -- not just those who self-identify as deaf or hard of hearing.

I didn't get to provide captions for SRCCON last year, but the response to Norma and Stan's captions was so overwhelmingly positive that it looks like they'll be captioning it again this year, and I'm really hoping my schedule will allow me to come and help them out! I love seeing the momentum build for tech conference captioning. It seems like whenever it's offered at one conference, it kicks off a chain reaction in audiences and organizers alike. Perhaps in the future it'll just be de rigueur, and anyone who wants to attend or speak at a conference -- whatever their language fluency or hearing status -- will have it freely available to them without any effort on their part. Here's hoping!