Workshop on 29/12/2020: End of year activities 2020

Well this has been a rather strange and stressful year for everyone.

Not knowing how long the pandemic will last we have held off on having physical meetings. Since nothing looks like it will be changing any time soon, we thought we’d try and hold this one online!

Luckily we don’t need to be using any proprietary video conferencing platforms like Zoom or Microsoft Teams (the former having an awful limitation on time too, if you’re not paying that is). As we have the fantastic project of Jitsi Meet!

Click to visit their website

A few of us have been using projects from Jitsi for many years, one of their earliest being a SIP softphone (which literally used to just be called “SIP Communicator” way back). In the last few years they’ve mostly pivoted to Jitsi Meet and its been met with fantastic adoption.

Mostly this is because no one needs to sign up for an account and the only thing anyone needs is a web browser! You can of course install an app on your phone or tablet if you prefer, but again no account is required.

Although the Jitsi project do host a copy of Jitsi Meet for the general public to use, it would appear to be mostly hosted in America and can get quite busy due to the massive uptake in video conferencing this year due to the pandemic.

So with help from our sister project Seaquake, we’ve created our own VM to host a copy just for us and this is how it ended up looking…

As you can see there were plenty of people, but unfortunately (and likely because they knew I’d post that screenshot here) many were camera shy and hid just as I took that screenshot!

Although the general consensus during the meeting was that it just didn’t feel the same as physical meetings. Mostly although people were impressed with Jitsi, we’d all become tired of video conferencing in general as part of our day jobs. The feeling was that it might be preferable to wait until physical meetings can resume before attempting another proper meeting, but that Jitsi might be an option for people going forwards to “virtually” attend physical meetings (e.g. if COVID-19 is starting to subside but people want to be extra cautious).

Plenty of chatter was had by all regarding Christmas which was only the previous week, as well as gadgets received as presents.

Hopefully 2021 will work out better than 2020 and we can get back on track!

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