Without setting a foot outside your own door!
Wakefield RISC OS Computer Club (WROCC) meetings routinely take place at the West Yorkshire Sports and Social Club – but those regular meetings have been put on hold by the current health crisis. However, the lockdown situation doesn’t necessarily mean meetings are prevented altogether, only that they can’t involve people gathering in the same physical location.
With that in mind, the group has scheduled a meeting, with a presentation by Steve Fryatt, to take place using video conferencing system Zoom – the same system the Midlands User Group used for their meeting in mid-May.
That meeting was very much a last minute decision and served, for MUG, as a test, and I speculated that it may have been the first virtual RISC OS user group meeting. The Wakefield group, however, had already said they were looking into holding meetings this way – it’s mentioned in their May newsletter, which was emailed to members early this month – and they already had plans in place for their own first virtual meeting, as mentioned on their website.
That meeting will take place on Tuesday, 2nd June (a day earlier than their meeting that month would normally take place), and will start at 7:45pm. The subject of the meeting will be RISC OS Direct, with Steve Fryatt looking at the new distribution of the operating system and investigating of some of the free software supplied with it.
If you are a WROCC member and wish to participate in the meeting, you need to reply to the announcement expressing your interest by the evening of Monday 1st June at the latest. On the day of the meeting – Tuesday (rather than the usual Wednesday) – Zoom invitations will be sent out to those who have done so. (And for those who choose not to, a recording of the meeting will be made available later).
Note that while normal meetings are free for members, with access for non-members for a small entry fee, this has not been offered for this meeting; the announcement doesn’t mention the possibility at all, in fact, and I would guess that the group considers the logistics of doing so a little difficult, or perhaps they have plans that are yet to be put into place.
Membership of WROCC costs just £15.00 per year, and is discounted to just £7.50 for your first year. This would allow participation in meetings such as this one (although consider that joining so close to a meeting if you wish to join that meeting could be less than ideal). Virtual meetings aside, membership has other benefits:
- Free access to normal meetings when they are able to take place.
- A monthly newsletter, delivered to your
dooremail inbox as a PDF file. (Example copies can be found on the Club’s website).
- Access to an online discussion list.
As for Zoom itself, there should be no surprise to hear that the Zoom client software is not available for RISC OS. It is available for mainstream platforms, though – so if you have a Windows, Apple, or Linux-based computer (with microphone and webcam – which laptops usually have built in, but for desktops you will need to connect up external devices), you’re covered. Clients also exist for Android and iOS platforms – so phones and tablets are also an option.
If you are using the software on a desktop or laptop computer, and you create a Zoom account, there are a number of options you can change to satisfy your requirements, and there is a section in the options to test your audio and video. You can also do this by visiting the Zoom test meeting – if the software is already installed and running on your computer, you will be logged into the test meeting (which is you only), and if it isn’t you will be prompted to download and install the software, to then join that test meeting.