Hiding from the Bat Death at the Zoom Bar

Just had a very nice drinks-with-friends get-together via Zoom; six people, five in town and one out.

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I found the Zoom Gallery View was a good medium for this, and without any unusual audio and video tech (though perhaps good headphones and microphones would have made it even better). I do think that having everyone have something to drink made for a better mood, though I might try a meal instead next time. Let me know if any of you do something like this, and especially if you have some tips on making it work particularly well.

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  1. Adding up to two remote people works very well for meals, with them taking the seats at the end of the table.

    We’ve successfully done that for the last many years Thanksgiving using iPads on stands so that distant family members who weren’t able to travel could still be “here.” Our house is the traditional Thanksgiving venue in the family, so most of those unable to get here have been on different continents at the time. As you’d expect, the better the internet where they are, the better the experience. Western Europe, Japan, and South Korea all work well (except for rural areas within each country), Russia, India, Mexico, and South Africa all work acceptably. Afghanistan and Iraq don’t work well, but are better than nothing, while the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and central Africa are all hit and miss. Satellite internet is a consistent dud, years better off just streaming them a video and not try to get a video in return.

  2. I set up an All-digital happy hour for our workgroup. At peak we had about 16 people on the VC (video chat, not Volokh Conspiracy). Since the group is only about 30 people, that was pretty good attendance. Yes, it seems silly, but people really seemed to enjoy it.

    1. Excellent — how do you think it worked with a group that size? Were there problems with people talking over each other, or with the video thumbnails being too small to see well? Or were people branching off into their own separate video chatrooms (I understand some software, perhaps even Zoom, allows that)?

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