Was our last club meeting in February? I confess that I can't really remember. Whenever it was, it was too long ago. I've been languishing in what I can only describe as a pandemic stupor, hoping against hope that we could get back to normal. Well, enough is enough, and too much is too much! It's time to see old faces and hear new stories. It's time to get the club back together. Starting October 14 we're going to resume our regular monthly club meetings via Zoom online conferencing. We'll share our experiences, hear some great presentations, and maybe even plan some socially distanced outings. Video conferencing will never be as good as meeting face-to-face, but it's the mechanism we have right now to maintain club cohesiveness. So, here's the scoop.
Mark your calendar! We'll continue with our old schedule of second-Wednesday-of-the-month meetings with social time starting at 6:30 PM and the meeting starting at 7:00 PM. Obviously socializing won't be as free and multi-conversational as was possible in person, but I'm surprised at how well Zoom handles chatting among a group if people are mindful that only one person can speak at a time. One plus is that you can wear your pajamas to the meeting. On the downside, you have to bring your own drinks. We'll send out meeting invitations in advance of meeting day, so all you have to do is click the link when you're ready to join the meeting.
If you've already been Zooming with friends and/or relatives, you're ready to go. If you're new to Zoom, you'll need to download the Zoom meeting software and confirm that your computer microphone and camera are working. You'll find instructions for that below, and we'll have a practice meeting during the week before the October meeting to make sure everyone's good to go or gets the help they need.
For anyone new to Zoom, here are a few tidbits of information and very basic instructions for getting set up. If you have problems, please contact Mark Wilbert (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Bob Stephens (email@example.com).
While Zoom accounts are free and give you some additional control during meetings, an account is not necessary to participate in a Zoom meeting.
To participate in a Zoom meeting you do need to download their client meeting software onto your computer. To do that:
Go to https://zoom.us
Hover over the "Resources" link in the upper-right corner of the page, and click "Download Zoom Client".
Under the first heading (Zoom Client for Meetings) click the "Download" button and follow any instructions.
Video conferencing is all about being seen and speaking, so it is assumed that your computer has a camera and microphone. If you don't, though, you can still connect to a meeting and simply watch and listen.
Once you've downloaded the Zoom client software, join the Zoom Test Meeting (https://zoom.us/test) to confirm that your system can connect and has audio and video settings configured properly.
Click the "Join" button
Wait for the "Video Preview" window to appear; then press one of the "Join with Video" button in the bottom-right of that window; you should see your image (from your computer's camera) displayed in the window
In the lower-left of the simulated meeting window that appears, click the up-arrow next to the microphone icon and select "Test Speaker and Microphone..." to confirm that those items are working properly
I want to thank Bob Stephens, our resident Zoom expert, for helping us get organized around the Zoom product. And thanks, too, to Paul Messner, Clayton Wright, and those working with them to line up interesting speakers. They're always looking for ideas, so let them know of people or topics you'd like to hear.
I'm excited about getting active again. I hope you are, too. See you soon.