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TEDx Talk Details. Vague details, but details nonetheless.


When I first wrote about the talk I’m giving at TEDxBozeman, there wasn’t really a lot to say about it. My application had just been accepted. The details weren’t nailed down. The lineup hadn’t been posted. Things were quite preliminary.

TEDxBozeman logo

Today, I know quite a bit more, but I’m not allowed to ruin the surprise. The TEDxBozeman website has bios for all of us, but it still doesn’t list details about our talks. We are, in fact, forbidden to publish our slides or outlines beforehand. But there are a few things I can tell you!

The event

Tickets are sold out. If you haven’t purchased a ticket yet, you’re out of luck. You can, however, still be a virtual attendee. All of TEDxBozeman will be streamed live on Livestream next Friday, March 21, 2014. The event link is http://new.livestream.com/tedx/events/2814001. The theme is “Pioneer Spirit.” The schedule is approximate, as this is a live event, and nothing ever goes as planned, so I can’t tell you the length or start time of any given talk. Here’s what do know:

TEDxBozeman begins at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Time on Friday, March 21. If you’re connecting to the stream online, do it early.

My talk will begin at approximately 2:50. If you wish to watch, I recommend connecting at least ten minutes before that, just to be safe.

My TEDx talk

The title of my talk is, “Does Closed Captioning Still Serve Deaf People?” In the talk, I will briefly explore the history and development of closed captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing people and look at where it’s heading. For more details, you’ll have to tune in and listen!

TEDx Cover Slide

My cover slide might look something like this.
But then again, it might not!

If you don’t have a ticket to the event and you’re unable to connect to the live stream, fear not! You’ll be able to find my talk, along with the others from TEDxBozeman, on TED.com at some point. When it’s there, I’ll make sure and post the details here.

I will drop one teaser about the content. The FCC made a new ruling about captioning quality last month. It necessitated a number of changes to my talk.

Accessibility

Well, this is a bit embarrassing. I am speaking about accessibility, and my talk will not be closed captioned live. I just couldn’t get things worked out. I promise you, however, that I will do everything in my power to make sure that when it hits TED.com and YouTube, there will be captions on it!

Books!

Closed Captioning HandbookOne of my favorite independent bookstores, Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, will be selling books at the event, and each presenter was allowed to choose one book: our own if we’ve written one, or someone else’s if it inspired us. I chose The Closed Captioning Handbook (duh), but fate — and my publisher — seem to have worked against me.

When The Closed Captioning Handbook became a textbook, the price shot up. The publisher, Focal Press, has made the book available through the mainstream distributors that bookstores buy from, but it is nonreturnable. This basically means that no bookstore other than a campus bookstore or specialty broadcast industry bookstore would ever stock it. Understandably, Country Bookshelf doesn’t want the possibility of ending up stuck with a stack of unsold $75.00 textbooks after the event.

Never one to give up an opportunity, I came up with an alternative. If we can’t have my primary closed captioning book for sale at the event, we’ll use one of my other books. And so, my friends, even though I’ll be talking about closed captioning, the Gary Robson book at TEDxBozeman will be the Yellowstone National Park edition of Who Pooped in the Park?, because poop books are always appropriate, right?

If you do wish to buy a copy of The Closed Captioning Handbook, Country Bookshelf can order one for you. If you don’t live near Bozeman and won’t be attending the event, you can order one from my store, Red Lodge Books & Tea. If you buy a Who Pooped book at the event, catch me afterward and I’ll be happy to sign it.

Upcoming Appearances 2014


This spring and summer is lining up to have a wildly eclectic set of public appearances for me! So far, I have things scheduled all across my areas of expertise: book signings, a TED talk about captioning, and a tea blogger’s panel at World Tea Expo.

Upcoming Appearances Header

TEDxBozeman

TEDxBozeman logo

Join me at TEDxBozeman on Friday, March 21 for a day of celebrating Pioneer Spirit with an amazing lineup of speakers. My talk is entitled “Does Closed Captioning Still Serve Deaf People?” I’ll be exploring the history and roots of closed captioning and look at the progress it has made, the pitfalls it has encountered, and where it might be going. As of this writing, tickets are still available, but they’ve sold out pretty quickly the last few years, so if you want to be at the talks in Bozeman, Montana, you’ll want to snag those tickets quickly. It will, of course, be streamed as well, and the talks will be available as individual videos on the TED website.

I wrote a while ago on this blog about my talk and included links to some of my favorite TED talks. I’ll add a link here when I post more details about the talk.


Tea Bloggers Roundtable @ World Tea Expo

Tea Bloggers Roundtable

If you have any interest in tea, head for Long Beach on Friday, May 30. I will be joining a group of other tea bloggers for a panel discussion about the world of tea. There is more detail on my other blog, Tea With Gary.


Book Signings in Yellowstone

Who Pooped? Yellowstone

I will be signing “Who Pooped in the Park?” books at Yellowstone Stage (the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park) Sunday July 6 from 1:00 to 6:00 and Monday July 7 from 11:00 to 6:00.

One for the bucket list: Giving a TED talk


My bucket list is an eclectic — and rather lengthy — collection of things. I’ve crossed some cool stuff off of that list: competing in a rodeo, being profiled in Forbes magazine, playing guitar at a wedding, giving a guest lecture at U.C. Berkeley, getting a U.S. Patent (two, actually), getting a teaching credential. I have a few “almosts” as well. I haven’t given a commencement address at a university, but I gave one at a high school. I haven’t ridden an elephant, but I’ve ridden a camel.

Recently, I got a “close enough.” One of the items on my list is to perform standup comedy in front of a live audience. Last week, I was master of ceremonies for a comedy show raising money for a local veterans’ center. As emcee, I performed a bit between comedians. I’m crossing that one off.

In a few months, I will be achieving one of the most exciting “almosts” of my life. Giving a TED talk is on my bucket list. I will be giving a TEDx talk in March.

TEDxBozeman logo

What the heck is a TED talk?

TED started out almost 30 years ago in 1984 as a conference bringing together people to talk about Technology, Entertainment, and Design. The current format for TED talks coalesced in 2006, when the first six talks were presented. Between their website and other venues like podcasts and YouTube, TED is on the cusp of its one billionth view. TED’s current tagline is “Ideas Worth Spreading,” and it lives up to that promise very well.

TED talks are highly polished and well-produced. Each talk is limited to a maximum of 18 minutes. Some are only a few minutes long. I download TED talks to my iPad and watch them at the gym and on plane rides. I watch them on my computer. Sometimes I run them through the AppleTV so I can watch them on the big living room TV set. I’ve watched a lot of TED talks on an amazing variety of subjects — they’ve moved far beyond the original scope of tech, entertainment, and design. If you’re unfamiliar with TED, here are a few of my favorites you might like watching to get a feel for how it works:

These five videos represent things that appeal to me. They carry themes that represent big parts of my life: books, storytelling, public speaking, science, nature, technology. There are thousands more. Scan through the available TED talks and you’ll find subjects that appeal to you. I can almost guarantee it.

Look through the list of presenters, and you’ll find an impressive roster of recognizable names: Malcolm Gladwell, Arianna Huffington, Bill Gates, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Peter Gabriel, Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf, Temple Grandin, David Pogue, Annie Lennox, Adam Savage, Thomas Dolby, Jeff Bezos, Tony Robbins, Al Gore, Bono. Some of these people have changed the world! Can you see why my bucket list would include walking out on the stage where they’ve spoken?

The dream begins to form

Last month, I went to work and found a message waiting for me from a gentleman named Ken Fichtler. He is a co-founder of TEDxBozeman, and dropped in to ask if I’d submit a proposal for a TEDx talk. Let me back up for a moment and explain TEDx.

TED is all about ideas worth spreading. There are far more of those ideas than can possibly be covered in the main TED events. The TED people decided that they needed to give more people an opportunity to participate, so they created TEDx, where the “x” means “Independently Organized TED Event.” On March 23, 2009, the first TEDx event was held at the University of Southern California. Since then, there have been over than 5,000 TEDx events in 148 countries and 50 languages!

If you visit the TED website, their catalog of 1,500 TED talk videos is augmented by an astonishing 30,000 TEDx videos from conferences around the world.

And Ken Fichtler was inviting me to participate. Well, to apply to participate.

I contacted him and asked if there was something in particular that led him to approach me. Was it my poop books? My work with tea? My recent talks about censorship and book banning? As it turns out, he was familiar with my work in closed captioning for deaf and hard-of-hearing people, and that’s what he had in mind.

Being the cheeky fellow that I am, I went ahead and submitted two applications. One was what I’ve been speaking about lately, and I entitled it “Does Book Banning Work?” The other, more along the lines of what he was looking for, I titled “Does Closed Captioning Still Serve Deaf People?” I sent in the applications, and I waited. For three interminably long weeks, I waited.

The decision

Three days ago, I got word that the committee had met and made a selection. It has been confirmed. They picked the captioning application.

I will be presenting a talk at TEDxBozeman on Friday, March 21, 2014.

I am hyped. I am thrilled. I am humbled. I’ve spoken to some pretty big audiences before — 650 people is my current record — but this will be the highest-profile talk I’ve ever given.

Soon, I’ll post some more about my talk, although I’m not going to give away any details. You’re going to have to either attend TEDxBozeman or catch the video online if you want the whole story.

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