| April BITS Board Meeting Agenda and Information (2024)

April 3, 2024 - 8:00PM ET

Listen on ACB Media 6

Say to your Amazon device, “ask ACB Media to play 6.”

Join in Clubhouse

Join the call:

BITS Monthly Board Meeting

One tap mobile:+13126266799,,133060658#,,,,*144468#

Phone: 312-626-6799

Meeting ID: 133 060 658

Passcode: 144468

Join the Zoom Meeting


1. Call to Order – Jeff Bishop

2. Roll call - Secretary Robin Frost

3. Adoption of proposed agenda - Jeff Bishop

4. Adoption of March 6, 2024, Board meeting minutes – Robin Frost.

5. Treasurer's report – Diane Scalzi

6. President's report – Jeff Bishop

  1. BITS Board Transparency expands to the ACB Community
  2. Certifying Membership! Thank you for all your support.
  3. ACB Media’s Main Menu Live and the Board of Publications
  4. Python training is in full swing, and students are highly energized. The amount of effort being generated around this work is massive.
  5. Turning our eyes to our newest members of BITS and ACB
  6. Asks for prioritization from committees:
    1. Work on massive backlog of content - major volunteers are stepping up!
    2. Generating a welcome letter to be sent to all members as they join with resources, tips, tricks, and organizational information. I am hoping the membership committee will take on this work.
    3. Constitutional changes are needed in several areas with a constitutional convention being held in September. We need to start digging in in these areas and start gathering feedback from the membership.
    4. The web site, fundraising and publications are key infrastructure components that need to continue to thrive.

7. Committee reports:

Budget and Finance:

Auditing: Taylor Arndt

Budget: Diane Scalzi

Fund Raising: Renee Zelickson

Presentation and Outreach:

Convention Planning Committee - Brad Snyder

Presentations Committee - Brad Snyder

Education Committee: Debbie Armstrong

Technical Infrastructure and Organization:

IT Infrastructure Committee - Michael Babco*ck

Membership: Membership Committee - John McCann


Publications Committee - Rosanna Beaudrie

Email Management Committee - Mervin Keck

Zoom Management Committee - David Edick

BITS Governance:

Constitution and Bylaws Committee - John McCann

Credentials Committee - Diane Scalzi

Nominating Committee - Marie Nelson

8. Old Business

  1. RIM Status and Need Update - Jeff
  2. Extending Partnerships and talking to people outside the organization.

9. New Business

A.Convention Registration Pricing – Everyone

B.Selecting representatives for Convention related activities

  1. Convention Auction Donations
  2. Expanding the options for collecting dues payments

10. Member Comments and Questions

11. Date and time of next Board meeting – May 1, 2024

12. Executive Session

13. Adjourn

Committee Chair Reports

Audit Committee

Budget Committee

Renee Zelickson and I met on Tuesday, March 19 for roughly an hour. Peggy Carpenter was absent. Renee and I discussed ways to invest $15,000-$20,000 of

our savings account into something that would give us a better return than we are now receiving from our savings account. My husband and I went out to

breakfast with our niece and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was talking about two funds managed by JPMorgan Investments. One has a ticker symbol of JEPQ,

and the other has a ticker symbol of JEPI. JEPQ is the JPMorgan Nasdaq Equity Premium Income ETF. This fund invests mainly in Nasdaq-100 index stocks.

JEPI is the JPMorgan Equity Premium Income ETF. It invests in Standard & Poor’s 500 Total Return Index (S&P 500stocks. They both receive income from

covered calls, a type of stock option. Dividends are paid monthly and can either be paid or reinvested. We already have accounts with Chase, which is part

of JPMorgan Chase. I am providing links to Yahoo Finance for both accounts because their site is quite accessible. There is a lot of historical data available

for both funds. Still, I’m trying to talk to a representative from JPMorgan to get a better explanation about how the funds work and any risks.

Fund Raising Committee

Presentations Committee

BITS - Presentation Committee Report for April Board Meeting

Submitted April 3, 2024

The following presentations were held during the month of March:

March 9 - Inaugural Basics With BITS Presentation

March 12 - Mac Bytes

March 13 - Intro to Discord (presented by Herbie Allen)

March 23 - Basics With BITS

March 27 - Apple Bytes with Herbie Allen

The inaugural Basics With BITS presentation was held on Saturday March 9.

The presentation was extremely well attended, with over 40 attendees.

Deborah Armstrong made a presentation on navigating the web using 2 Windows screen readers.

The second Basics With BITS presentation took place on Saturday March 23, and was also well attended.

David Kingsbury provided a training session on basic text editing.

Basics With BITS takes place on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of each month at 3:00 PM Eastern, on ACB Community, and can also be heard on ACB Media 5 and Clubhouse.

Beginning this month, the BITS Board meeting can be heard on ACB Community, and is also being streamed on ACB Media 6, and is listen only on Clubhouse.

The following presentations are scheduled to be held during April:

Tuesday April 9 - Mac Bytes

Wednesday April 10 - Introduction to Audio Editing with Audacity, presented by Herbie Allen

Saturday April 13 - Basics With BITS

Wednesday April 17 - Education CommitteePanel Discussion on learning screen readers and office using online resources for independent study

Tuesday April 23 - Vispero Presentation on the enhanced JAWS Picture Smart Utility with AI, presented by Jeff Bazer

Wednesday April 24 - Apple Bytes with Herbie Allen

Convention Committee

BITS - Convention Planning Committee Report for April 2024

Submitted April 3, 2024

The BITS Convention Planning committee continues to make preparations for the ACB Virtual Convention, scheduled for June 27, 28 and 29.

The last meeting of the committee was Saturday March 30.

We have 6 presentations planned during the Virtual Convention.

We have 2 presentations scheduled each day during the Virtual Convention. Times will be 11:00 AM and 2:00 PM each day.

2 presentations will be cosponsored events, with 1 each with the Leadership Institute, and the Employment Committee.

BITS is also participating as a cosponsor and presenter in a presentation on Technology In the Workplace.

The Employment Committee is taking the lead on this presentation, which is scheduled for Saturday June 29, at 12:30 PM.

On March 20, presentation titles and descriptions were due to Janet Dickelman of the ACB Convention Planning Committee. The descriptions as submitted are posted below.

The next information deadline is April 17, when presenter information is due to Janet.

BITS is interested in hosting a hospitality event at the in-person convention in Jacksonville.

This event would be held in a meeting room at the Hyatt Hotel, with food and beverages catered by the hotel.

This event is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday July 10, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM.

Janet is still waiting for catering cost information from the Hotel.

We hope to have this information soon.

The BITS Convention Planning Committee will meet next on Saturday April 13.

Description of BITS Sponsored Events at 2024 ACB Virtual Convention

As submitted March 20, 2024

3 Part series of presentations on Artificial Intelligence

Session 1 - Thursday June 27 at 11:00 AM

Title: Using AI Ethically and Responsibly.

The invention of artificial intelligence has been with us for decades but now it is becoming pivotal in the lives of those that utilize technology. Learn from a panel of technology experts, users, and enthusiasts about the current state of AI. We will focus on using this technology ethically and responsibly, but what does that even mean? We will answer the question if AI is a game changer for those with disabilities and what role does it play in the lives of professionals, students, and those of us that utilize this technology in our daily lives at home. Lastly, we discuss what role we all play in driving change in the areas of AI and accessibility to improve the world around us. Learn how AI will achieve greatness if driven appropriately by technology companies and users alike.

Session 2 - Friday June 28 at 11:00 AM

Title: A Look At AI Platforms.

(Note: This presentation title has been shortened to conform to the 80 character limit for podcasted presentations, as requested by Janet Dickelman.)

In our second session we dive deep on what technology exists today that is both inclusive and accessible for everyone. What are the key aspects of each of the big players in the area of AI and why might you use one over the other. We uncover the last trends in AI across all of the big players and platforms, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Open AI, and many others. This interactive session will allow guests to ask questions of our panel of experts to allow you to determine which platform is best for your specific situation.

Session 3 - Saturday June 28 at 11:00 AM

Title: AI In the Workplace.

Note: This presentation is cosponsored by BITS and the Employment committee.

Are you a JAWS user? This session is for you. Learn tips, tricks, and techniques to take advantage of AI across products and services. World-renowned technologist, Brian Hartgen, will join us where he will share many techniques to optimize your use of AI tools and services. If productivity, efficiency, and profound improvement in usability are what you crave for then learn from a truly creative individual as Brian shares his vision of where we are in the use of AI with assistive technology. It just not all about prompting with AI tools, it is also about collecting that data in ways that allows you to be most efficient in your daily work.

Afternoon Sessions

Thursday June 27 at 2:00 PM

Title: Productivity Apps on your iOS Device: Helping You Work Smarter, Not Harder

Your iOS device is a powerful computer that fits right in the palm of your hand, and it comes preloaded with a number of apps that can help you work smarter, not harder. In this session, iBug Today members Sandhya Rao and Brad Snyder show how you can master the power of your iOS device to increase your productivity and efficiency, and maybe have some fun at the same time.

Friday June 28 at 2:00 PM

Title: Implementation and Maintenance of Websites for Affiliates and Chapters.

Note: This presentation is cosponsored by BITS and the Leadership committee.

ACB Affiliates and Chapters in 2024 need to have a website to reach current and potential members. In this session will walk you through the necessary tools You need to build your home on the web. From domain names to web hosting and content management systems, you'll have a clear understanding of what is possible and how to take the first or next step to build your affiliates website even if you don't have a tech background.

Saturday June 29 at 2:00 PM

Title: Get To Know Computers For The Blind

Computers For The Blind is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit dedicated to bridging the digital divide for the blind and vision impaired community in the US, by providing affordable and accessible refurbished computers and training. Join BITS and Unmute Presents’ Marty Sobo, along with Computers For The Blind’s Brian Carver and Marci Duty, as they discuss what Computers For The Blind has to offer the blind and vision impaired community, and how you can take advantage of what this organization can do for you.

Education Committee

We are still struggling to find a zoom meeting date/time that works for all of us, since most of us are employed with varying time zones and schedules.

However Basics with Bits is going great; David Kingsbury did a fabulous talk on editing using tips that work with all screen readers and editing software.

He’s very beginner-friendly! And we have several other trainers who have stepped up to volunteer a spot as facilitator on a future community call.

Jeff and his team are handling the python class so it’s not our responsibility but we’ve been collecting a list of other topics BITS members wish to master.

(Jeff report on the class please!)

We hope to have more to report by the end of April.


Membership Committee

BITS Membership Committee Report

April, 2024

At 10:00 AM Arizona time on Saturday, March 30th, the BITS 2024 certified membership roster was submitted to ACB, which roster contains 731 members. All board members should have received the certification report which I forwarded immediately after receiving it.

On March 27th, a renewal reminder email was sent to all those on our AMMS roster whose memberships had expired as of 12/31/2023 and before. As I believe everyone knows, this email was also unintentionally and erroneously sent to the BITS discussion list, but that did result in the correction of several members' dues payment records. The email brought in nine lapsed members; hence, our updated membership data is as follows:

Post-moratorium certified members, 45

International members, 80 (10.94% of total membership)

Breakdown by number of members in each country:

Canada (33)

United Kingdom (16)

Australia (9, 1 BITS life)

South Africa (4)

Ireland (3)

Germany (2)

Bangladesh (1)

Bulgaria (1)

Croatia (1)

Denmark (1)

France (1)

Greece (1)

India (1)

Israel (1)

Pakistan (1)

Philippines (1)

Poland (1)

Spain (1)

Slovenia (1)

Largely due to our exemplary membership application form, we've done extremely well in collecting demographic data as follows:

Gender: 725/731 99.17%

Ethnicity: 721/731 98.63%

Vision status: 726/731 99.32%

With the "heavy lifting" in the areas of membership recruitment and records management now behind us, I believe, consistent with what I mentioned in my last report and what I specifically stated in the renewal reminder email, it is now time for all 2024 non-members to have their membership benefits discontinued. I have generated a spreadsheet listing all sixty BITS 2024 non-certified and will forward it to Jeff for appropriate action by all relevant committees.

Respectfully submitted:

John McCann

Chair: BITS membership committee

Infrastructure Committee

Below is a list of things that I've completed, and points that I would love some feedback on.

I’ve downloaded the 8.6 GB of content that was available for members on the old website.

I've reached out to dream host who has confirmed that we have unlimited storage and unlimited bandwidth based on their fair use policies linked below. My thought was the following:

1. Creating user account is going to be the easy part, will import the data that we have and IT committee members data will be first to be imported. IT Committee members information will happen before end of week, ! That way you guys can login and give feedback based on the sign up process/login procedures.

2. We need text for the homepage unless we're going to copy the text from the live site. If someone wants to work with publications or simply come up with some copy to get me for the homepage, we can configure that on the development site so we can see what that looks like.

3. Do you think we should serve all of the media files from dream host, or explore a content distribution set up. I see pros and cons to both of these aspects, the pro of serving the content from the DreamHost shared account is that everything is in one place and we don't have to remember what needs paid win. One of the cons to serving all of the media from the dream host shared hosting account is a very high likelihood of degraded performance in service availability when multiple people are trying to play files at once. I don't know how likely this is, but I want to be transparent about this potential issue and discuss it with the committee.

4. I'd like to run each of the files that we have through Mac whisper to provide an AI generated transcript. We'll add text to the top of each post letting people know that the transcript below is AI generated, this gives our members the added benefit of being able to search for content and easily find something they might be looking for. Does anyone have any feedback on this? Do you think we should only do this for newer content or try to encompass all content?

5. Regarding the structure of the content, I thought I'd create categories with the following names:

BITS Convention Program Sessions

BITS Presentations

BITS Roundtable, hosted by Earlene Hughes

Mac Bytes With BITS, hosted by Brad Snyder

Apple Bytes, Hosted by Herbie Allen

BITS Annual Business Meeting Recordings

Each of these categories would have the material that has been previously published in those sections on the original site. This also gives us the flexibility of adding additional categories based on the content our members produce moving forward.

6. We added a menu to the footer with links to all of the social media that we currently have. Definitely open to modifying this to include additional options. We did put the link to subscribe to the announce list in the section as well.

7. I also took a list of the mailing list, discord channels, and what’s app links and posted to a members only page called “Communicating With BITS”.

this page needs to be cleaned up a little, This will be a members only page, but I figured it would be helpful for members to have access to this information whenever they need it!

I also think because it's members only we may want to have either on the homepage members access when they login, or the communicating with BITS page a button to allow them to launch the chat call that happens on the weekends. That way people don't have to search their email for those zoom links, but they're not public either. We could have a way for people to access board meetings and other members only presentations as well from there online account.

8. I want any additional feedback you may have. What's something that I may have forgotten about, please share!

Please feel free to reply and tackle any of the above points with feedback.

Here's the link to the fair use policy from dream host: | April BITS Board Meeting Agenda and Information (1)

Publications Committee

Publications Committee report for March 2024

The Publications committee met on Thursday March 14. Below are the updates from this meeting.

* Social media

As of today, we have 101 followers on mastodon and robin continues to post BITS events.

3 new members have been added to the BITS only Facebook page. Maryann is continuing to post BITS events on the Facebook page. Chris has removed himself from Facebook as an admin and owner.

Herbie has been added as an admin for What’s App and is exploring other social media platforms.

  • Newsletter

The newsletter will be called the BITS Bulletin and will be published quarterly. The first addition is scheduled to go out on April 20. Debrah has sent out a message requesting articles to be sent in for review by April 5. An email address has been set up for this purpose. At this time we are asking for articles relating to technology. The BITS Bulletin will be in an HTML format and will be posted on the website under the Publications tab.

  • Handbook

It was decided to have a separate meeting time for the handbook due to the amount of time needed to work on the revision and additions that will need to be made. This area of the Publications committee will begin meeting on a Saturday in April. Date to be determined.

  • Logo

We will continue to work on ideas for a logo and we will ask the Fundraising committee to submit ideas to us for review. We are currently looking for a graphics designer who will be able to draw the logo ideas so that we can get an idea how it will look on the web site. The final ideas will be submitted to the BITS Board for review and approval.

Our next meeting will be Thursday April 11 at 8 pm ET.

Email Management Committee

Email Management Team

April, 2024 Report

Our team has continued to move forward during March with a number of projects. Foremost in our minds have been maintaining ACB Core Values on all platforms including Email, Zoom, Mastodon, discord, and WhatsApp.

As we have moved into the second quarter of 2024 we strive to keep all communications within our affiliate safe, respectful, and welcoming. We are considering a number of options that will reduce the current number of lists and change the focus from many narrow topics to a few more broad topics. This will increase traffic on the topical lists. But it will also reduce the number of lists in which the member will need to subscribe while keeping the general discussion list low traffic.

The team is also discussing other possibilities for the BITS General discussion List. As we attempt to honor the majority of our members wishes to keep the general discussion list low traffic, and redirect topical discussion to our new topical lists, we are looking at other possibilities for this list which may include time-limited threads, automatic redirection of threads, or moderated list with free for all topics.

March was very exciting. The Email Management Team participated in a Main Menu in which ACB and BITS members took a deep dive into Part two of that will be airing in May. Part One is available now as a Podcast. Members of the team also participated with President Jeff bishop in the Office Hours in March. Many questions regarding email Management were answered. This is clearly still a hot issue in our affiliate and we are continuing to work to resolve our members difficulties with email as quickly as possible.

We are continuing to encourage members to reply privately when appropriate. We are also continuing to revise and update the email guidelines. New guidelines will be posted in April. We discussed posting the communications options once a month on the BITS Members list. That will begin once privileges have been granted. We will also continue to post the communications options every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to the BITS General discussion List. We have also been featuring a different topical list each time we post the communications options.

As discussed in previous reports, moderation occurs when guidelines are ignored. Moderation is a very last resort. If you have ever been on a community call you know that a host will mute you as a last resort. And remove you as a very last resort. Moderation and removal of posting privileges work the same way. We seek most to provide a safe, warm, welcoming, and respectful place for our BITS Family. We absolutely do not want anyone to feel hesitant to post because they fear public or private reprisal. Please be kind to each other.

A very big thank you to our list Moderators. A few of you are stepping into the fray. And topical conversations are beginning to increase. We have had some fascinating conversations on a few of our lists lately and I expect they will continue. As we seek to simplify and consolidate our many lists into a few, we will be taking note of the Moderators who are engaging the members on their topical lists. We appreciate each and every one of you.

April will continue to be a month which will include innovation, adaptation, and improvement. The email Management team is absolutely thrilled to be part of that process. In March we passed the Title of Chair from Debbie Hazelton to Mervin Keck. In reality, nothing will be changing so far as the team is concerned. Debbie Hazelton, Jason Castonguay, David Edick, Mike Hartwig, Mervin Keck, and President Jeff Bishop have worked well as a team since the very beginning. Each of us have brought a unique strength to the team. And I cannot imagine working without even one of these individuals because we are the perfect blend of personalities and tech.

And, we are only a quarter of the way through the year. I can’t wait to see what we do next.

If anyone would like to contact me privately in regard to issues related to Email Management, or if you have a question and wish to email me privately, my email is:


Respectfully submitted:

Mervin Keck

Email Management Team, Chair

Zoom Committee

Zoom Meeting Information

BITS Board Meeting

April 3, 2024 - 8:00 PM ET

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 133 060 658

Passcode: 144468

One tap mobile

+13126266799,,133060658# US (Chicago)

+16465588656,,133060658# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)

+1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)

+1 253 215 8782 US

+1 301 715 8592 US

Meeting ID: 133 060 658

Passcode: 144468

Find your local number

International numbers available

March BITS Presidential Report


Welcome to Spring everyone and we are for sure springing into action as an organization. Here are the highlights you will read about in this month’s presidential report:

  • Committees are hard at work.
  • Education is flourishing inside of BITS.
  • Chat has expanded.
  • Putting an eye on our newest family members.
  • In conclusion: Turning our eyes toward finalizing the web site, constitutional changes and the upcoming national convention.

Committee Work Continues

Many bright spots are being seen in the work of our committees. I am especially proud of the work that our publications team are doing in bringing up our newsletter for BITS. I would strongly encourage all of you to consider writing articles for the newsletter. All topics are on the table. Please be willing to share the areas you focus on in your daily work with technology, whether it be in gaming, web site development, the tips and tricks you do with your iPhone, whatever it is, please bring it to our newsletter.

The budget committee is hard at work on proposing new budgets for the organization and looking at ways to increase the amount we may earn on the cash we have in our accounts and investments. I expect we may hear more about this during our board meeting this month.

The Zoom committee has been hard at work and bringing on new hosts and expanding the BITS chats we now have for both Friday and Saturday nights. We have more to do here but I am pleased with the effort and energy that is being undertaken for all of this work. We can always use more to help fill out the rooms that are a part of the overall chat experience.

Lastly, I am so pleased with the significant amount of effort that our volunteers are taking on in our educational opportunities. This includes the monumental efforts that are being undertaken in our Python training and now the work we are seeing with the Basics with BITS community events we are tackling. Thank you to all of you who host, teach, co-host or in any other way that you do by picking up an oar to assist us in these efforts! Thank you so much!

We have had some people step up in volunteering to help edit the backlog of presentations that we have. We will be taking them up on that generous offer but if there are more of you please reach out to us, we could sure use your assistance.

Education is flourishing inside of BITS

As just previously noted, education is flourishing in BITS and we are truly thankful for the literal hundreds of hours that people are devoting to our membership to teach them amazing skills. Keep telling us where you feel you need education and we will see what we can do as a leadership team to accommodate you.

Chat has Expanded

As previously mentioned, BITS chat is taking on a new goal of truly innovating in the way we communicate with one another. Through the effort of the Zoom team we have started to hold chat sessions on Friday nights. We want to make these bigger, stronger and more accommodating for all members to have thriving conversations in multiple places for our members. This will take an investment of volunteers, a commitment of the people in chat to help drive a culture to accommodate these changes and more socialization of our chat experiences for BITS. Let’s all be thinking creatively about how we can accomplish all of this to drive even more conversations inside of BITS.

Putting an eye on our newest family members

One of the amazing things about BITS is our people. We have approximately 200 of you who have never been a member of BITS in the past, in fact, you have never been a member of ACB in the past either. For this reason, you will be hearing more about a presentation that we will be inviting everyone to. It will provide you an opportunity to hear more about BITS, more about ACB and its associated programs and most importantly how through the combined strength of both organizations, introduce you to a family that you may not know much about. BITS is a family but we are simply a part of a larger community of people that we need to tell you more about. Stay tuned, that event is coming. The President of ACB along with national leaders will come together along with BITS leaders to talk with all of you about the future of BITS, your involvement with ACB and the opportunities that you can take advantage of in both organizations.


Besides running the organization we are:

* Working on the new web site. You will hear more about that in the board meeting.

* Finalizing our national convention planning, including voting opportunities for the convention itself. You will hear more about that in May.

* Finally, we will be hard at work on some major constitutional changes for the BITS governing documents so stay tuned.

Keep being awesome everyone and don’t forget to reach out if you require any assistance. | April BITS Board Meeting Agenda and Information (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated:

Views: 5605

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.