Last night Code for Boston met for the first time in 2023. We are shifting from a once or twice a month cadence for hybrid meetups to every other week. The exciting thing is the first meetup of January is almost always the most popular, we had nearly forty people attend in-person.
Why It Matters
After nearly three years of virtual programming and sparsely attended hybrid meetings, more people are excited to attend in-person events. The anemic participation in virtual events did not reflect a lack of interest in participating in civic tech projects as much as a lack of excitement for the virtual format.
By the Numbers
- 10 people attended the Meetup virtually.
- 40 attended in-person.
- MBTA turnstile data shows 516,000 riders in January 2022, and 732,000 riders in December 2022.
Zoom Ignores Hybrid
The interface for Zoom mostly seems to ignore hybrid setups. Dual-screen mode is not useful if you’re also using the computer that Zoom is connected to. You end up needing a dedicated Zoom computer in the room to display both the grid view and active speaker. There is no reason Zoom could not switch from these views automatically in software on an external display, except for the fact they probably have not talked to a user since 2019.
The MeetingOwl I Want
We continue to leverage the Meeting Owl as the least worst way to do hybrid. However it is odd when a virtual speaker is on a screen that is off camera. To virtual speakers you might be staring at something interesting away from them. We need a device that projects a 360 degree hologram of the speaker above it. If I had unlimited money I would likely rig the Meeting Owl to a splitter that mirrors the video to four screens in the center of the conference table, and then have the Owl sit above that.
VSCode + GitHub CodeSpaces Still Rocks
There are only minor hiccups using VSCode with GitHub Codespaces, but using a share link we are able to quickly onboard new members to participate in our project. Last night multiple people made their first contributions. If you are a Safari user I strongly recommend downloading the VSCode electron application, its performance is better than the in-browser experience.