March 2023 from
Jerry Pyfer

Zoom Etiquette

“Smile, you’re on candid camera.” This was the theme to an old television show which played jokes on folks back in the 50s and 60s. When the hidden camera was revealed, the song started, “Smile, you’re on candid camera.”

The same thing can be said about Zoom meetings. When you are a participant of a Zoom meeting, each attendee has their own little square in which you can be seen and heard by all others on the meeting connection. Think of it as the TV show “Hollywood Squares”. The Zoom host can mute participants, but they cannot block out your beautiful face.

Over the year of participating in Zoom meetings, both as host and guest, I have seen and heard some things that really disrupt a meeting and is rude to the speakers and the audience.

We hear you. When I host an NWI Zoom meeting, you are welcome to chat prior to the start of the meeting. Once the meeting begins, I will mute all but the guest speaker. If the speaker allows audience participation, your microphone will be on. When you make a sound, speaking or preparing a snack/drink or otherwise, the sound comes across the internet. In such a case, I will mute you to stop the disruption. Thus, if you need to make a noise during a Zoom meeting please, mute yourself.

We see you. Next your mug, just as with the sound, your movement will trigger the camera to share what you are doing. The host cannot prevent that. When you make motion, the camera picks up on that motion and you are there for all the other guests to watch. Just like the sounds, your actions can be quite disruptive as well, if not embarrassing.

You can stop your “Video” when doing something that will attract your camera’s attention. When the camera or sound does pick up on you, your square picture border will light up for all to see. If you feel the need to make sounds or movements, please “Mute” and/or “Stop” video prior to that action. You will continue to receive the program uninterrupted.

When the mute is activated, your little microphone icon in the lower left corner of your screen, will have a red circle with a bar across the icon.

Likewise, when you temporarily stop the video, your square will go black with your ID name, no picture.

Whooo are you, who-who. Which brings me to another Zoom related topic, your check in name. When you can see other folks’ squares, you see their names, which might also be in a code name as well.

As a host, I am always aware that nefarious people live to spoil Zoom meetings for others. I would appreciate if you would use your actual name or a key name that I can identify to know it is someone who is a legitimate guest.

The Wisconsin Chapter has gone to an extra step of requesting Zoom guests to pre-register prior to sharing the meeting passwords and code to help block out interlopers.

Hello?Operator? We’ve been disconnected. I have come to understand folks within a Zoom meeting via the cell phone can present a problem if you receive a call during the meeting. Your Zoom connection can be broken when you answer that caller. For the most part, once a Zoom meeting begins a presentation, I can no longer view who might be requesting admittance. Thus, I might not know you desire to rejoin the meeting. The train will keep rolling without you on board.

Zoom has given chapter members, subscribers and guests a new way to participate in meetings whether near or far away. Please participate in a responsible manner.

February’s chapter meeting saw a great presentation by Lance Wales covering Belvidere, Illinois through his cameras since the 1980s.

Lance, thru one of his teachers, started with black and white photography. I for one, enjoy black and white photos for a nice change.

I was taken by the Milwaukee Road SD45 photo in the consist at the yard. The Milwaukee and C&NW swapped a like number of 3600hp units when the Milwaukee Road ran over some C&NW trackage in eastern Iowa getting to Council Bluffs. Then Lance had the audacity to show Milwaukee Road FP45 #4 with a C&NW SD45working the auto-rack yard at the Chrysler plant.

We had about 45 in-person guests and another 17 via Zoom joining us. Thank you for joining us.

March 25th NWI chapter meeting will feature Racine-Sturtevant, Wisconsin area native Al Baker who will present railfanning the old C&M and La Crosse divisions today.

I have had the privilege to work both divisions and the Sturtevant area during my Milwaukee Road career in the 1970s. I don’t know if I am looking forward to all the changes.

Al has been learning the techniques of operating a drone adding a new dimension to his photographic skills. I was once anti-drone for a long while, no more. I saw one of his shots at Sturtevant with fresh snow on the ground, incredible from the air.

And isn’t this something we always longed for? The overhead bridge shot was always sought over standing at ground level. I have found myself usually looking for a little higher ground for photographs. Model railroads joining the photographers, always needed top down shots for modeling roof detail.

NWI March Meeting on Zoom

The March 25th Chapter meeting will be Zoomed. Zoom doors will open at 6:45pm. If you would like to participate, please inform me by Noon March 24 of your request at: jrrchase@comcast.net

You will receive an invite with pass codes imbedded. You must be registered with Zoom, which is free, to join in.

If you are already signed up for Zoom with the chapter, you can sit back and relax as you are on our list.

NWI Chapter Photographer of the Year Contest Ballot Team

The NWI Chapter could use a few in-person assistants during the tabulating of the ballots at the April 22nd meeting. If you would like to join the team, please let us know soon.

For more information about the Chapter, see Meetings and Join.

Chapter address

North Western Illinois Chapter - NRHS
P.O. Box 5632
Rockford, IL 61125-0632