Was thinking lately about having others in the Ottawa area and beyond, who wish to connect with other pipe smokers, the chance to do so through virtual meet ups. Seems to be the thing to do these days given our Covid-19 routines.
To that end, I think I've found an easy solution for most of us. I'll re-work the instructions below as a reference for us and we can perhaps try it out sometime soon.
Conducting Virtual Club Meetings (The Easy Way)
If you are unfamiliar with using software for conducting an online meeting, we have a solution for you that is free and simple to use. Jitsi Meet is Open Source software that makes it easy for people to have a video conference online. No log in or sign up is required to use this service.
HOW TO USE JITSI MEET:
For Desktop/Laptop Users:
Open up your Internet Browser. Chrome, Chromium, and Opera are supported Web Browsers but it could work on others (like Firefox).
Join or create a conference simply by just typing typing https://meet.jit.si/WHATEVERNAMEYOUCHOOSE
For Mobile Phone/Tablet Users:
Download the Jitsi Meet app. (Free, no registration required)
Make sure you give it permission to access your mic and camera, or you won’t be able to talk or use video features.
In the “Enter room name” field, type in the name of your groups room. From our example above it would be OTTAWAPIPECLUB
For All Users:
Go to the Chat feature (looks like a thought bubble) and enter your name; this puts your name on your image.
Make sure you volume is adjusted to about 50% to start and adjust as needed so your group can hear you.
You can access microphone, video, chat, and more (using the … button) at the bottom (swipe up from the bottom of the screen for mobile users to view these options)
Because anyone can join in on a meeting, and no one is dedicated as a “host”, we will make sure our conference room name is unique, and cannot be typed in randomly by someone by accident. For Example: Ottawa Pipe Club would use https://meet.jit.si/ottawapipeclub132
Meeting Room names are not case-sensitive. So OttawaPipeClub132 is the same as ottawapipeclub132
There is an option to mute everyone’s mic. Take advantage of it, but also make sure that everyone knows how to unmute their mic when it is their time to speak.
There is a Chat feature, but it doesn’t show up on the screen on mobile phones, so it may not be very helpful for some participants.
The person speaking will be the main video image but you do have the option of making any person the main video image by touching/clicking on their image. Click/touch again to turn that off.
That's basically it. I think we'll see how this goes and make it something we can use to bring folks together in these challenging times of smoking your pipe in isolation!