[kwlug-announce] (Online) Meeting Monday! LaTeX at the Law Library, clusterssh (April 2020)

Paul Nijjar paul_nijjar at yahoo.ca
Fri Apr 3 22:23:31 EDT 2020

Well, here we are. 

Let's start by acknowledging the elephant in the room, and express
hopes that you and your loved ones are keeping safe. 

Wouldn't it be nice to get out of the house and talk free software
with others? Well, too bad. Many of us are stuck at home. But at least
we can talk free software. This month we are going to try holding the
meeting online. Here is the meeting information:

URL: https://meetings.theworkingcentre.org/room/kwlug
Access code: 254896

The meeting platform is called BigBlueButton (BBB). At the end of this
announcement I will discuss some tips for using it. 

In terms of topics: we will (finally!) have John Kerr telling us about
his experiences using the typesetting language LaTeX at the law
library (back when there were law libraries). LaTeX is often used to
typeset mathematical and computer science publications, but John puts
it to use at his workplace as well. He will show us some of the things
he does, and tell us the similarities between LaTeX and Gaelic. This
will be a beginner-friendly presentation.

Jeff Smith is a sysadmin who sometimes has to run tasks on many
different servers. He uses clusterssh to manage these servers in
parallel -- writing a command on one console and sending that command
to his army of winged monkey servers. He will tell us more about how
he uses the software, and (if the webconferencing goes well) give us
some impressive demos. 

Okay. Here is what you need to know about using the BBB instance: 

- If you have a computer then BBB works pretty well on modern browsers
  (Chrome, Firefox, Chromium, Opera, and maybe even Edge). It also
  works pretty well on cellphones and tablets.

- When following the link, you will first be asked for the access code
  above, and then for your name.  Please use your actual name or a
  handle we will recognise. Our intention is to let everybody (even
  hypothetical zoom-bombers) in, but only to unlock people who we
  recognise and trust. 

- We will not be using webcams, but you will be able to use your
  microphone. You can also choose to join the meeting in listen-only
  mode, and you can switch between the two by clicking the button that
  looks like a telephone receiver (for younger readers: a diagonal clown
  smile) and reselecting the audio. Audio-only mode works pretty well
  even on older hardware.

- BBB has the option of connecting in via a landline in audio-only
  mode. We don't intend to enable this, but if you really want to join
  by telephone then let us know. 

- BBB is a platform intended for e-learning, and so has some strong
  moderator abilities. To cut down on Zoom-bombing, you will enter the
  meeting in locked-down mode. If things get unruly then we will lock
  down things more (cutting off microphone access and maybe even chat
  access). Even trolls will be able to learn about LaTeX and
  clusterssh, but our intention is to minimize disruption.

- You will start out muted. Please stay muted unless it is your time
  to speak. If you have a question please use the "raise hand"
  functionality (click your name, choose "set status" and then raise
  your hand).

- If we are lucky moderators will pay attention to the chat, but it
  probably will not be our primary form of communication.

We will see how the meeting goes. Hopefully the server will stand up
under load and the experience will be smooth even if we get more
attendees than usual. Please be patient with us if there are hiccups. 

If you are worried about being able to access the meeting contact me
directly (paul_nijjar on the domain yahoo.ca) and we can experiment. 

There's no meeting map or location, other than the URL above, and no
parking either. But I hope you come out anyways, even if you have not
been able to make a physical meeting in a while. 

- Paul
Events: https://feeds.off-topic.kwlug.org 
Blog: http://pnijjar.freeshell.org

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