New physical venue: Sodoi Coffee Tasting House

Effective 2022-06-12 we’ve got a new physical meeting venue.

Sodoi Coffee Tasting House

That should serve us well – at least until Cal’s regular academic sessions start up again (in the Fall) – we may then want to revisit the question if it’s still the best location. But looks likely at least for the academic Summer to be the best location for us.

One can presently see fair bit about location, accessibility, parking, etc. on our Meetings page, so I’ll try not to be too redundant here. So, key advantages it has (and some minor drawbacks, and some comparisons to venues we’ve used):

  • Good location: Berkeley, good public transportation, walkability, pretty good parking – there’s also fairly economical parking structure above it
  • It’s open (BlueDoor apparently closed for the academic Summer)
  • not too crowded
  • not too loud (mostly plays some soft-ish music not too loud … we start up some conversations we may be the loudest there … but it’s not like the place is dead silent, Bobby G.’s was so loud we had to give up on it, Blue Door and Strada are sometimes rather loud)
  • good Wi-Fi
  • good access to power (that can be a bit challenging at Strada)
  • some nice large tables, so can be quite excellent for a fair bunch of us there (Strada and many venues lack that or it’s quite limited)
  • good/excellent clean restroom (85C devolved to a zero paper products too many people one restroom disaster)
  • It has some pretty cool interesting decor – including many cool antiques.
  • they definitely have coffee (and some other beverages and food). But the non-coffee options are rather limited, e.g. mostly just hot/iced teas, hot chocolate, some pastries, ice cream, nothing like sandwiches/wraps/salads/pizza or the like – though other food is nearby. There’s a (Cheese ‘n Stuff, 2442 Durant) sandwich place right across from Sodoi – but it’s (currently) closed on Sundays – but there are many options nearby along Durant and Telegraph – probably well over 20+ food/beverage /restaurant businesses within a block or two.
  • At present, proof of vaccination is required for dine-in and they have no outdoor dining.
  • It doesn’t have views/air, like e.g. outdoor Strada … but it has a roof, and reasonable temperature control, so if/when California ever gets rain again … (Strada has very limited indoor space, and outdoor space at Strada can get warm/hot/cold/windy/loud)
  • Sodoi has very good accessibility (BlueDoor and Strada more challenging, notably crowded and difficult to navigate, and Strada some uneven surfaces and more challenging entry)

Meetings (virtual) …

So, COVID-19 and all that. At least thus far (at the time of this writing 2020-06-21), BerkeleyLUG hasn’t had in-person meetings since our 2020-03-08 meeting.

However, effective 2020-05-10 BerkeleyLUG has moved meetings to virtual!

Pi.BerkeleyLUG has also moved meetings to virtual.

So, back to same schedule, just the “location” has changed. (see also our list: for any possible late-breaking changes on meetings)

Oh, and virtual meetings can have many unique advantages too, e.g.:

  • don’t have to travel to physical meeting location – convenient from almost anywhere – and “travel” time/cost of about zero.
  • can generally well hear all meeting participants when they speak – generally no issues with too much noise/sound, loud crowds/music/TVs from the venue (and works especially well when they remember to take themselves off mute) – and too, can mute most any annoying sound source (participants can mute themselves if there’s background noise or they’re not speaking – or you/moderator can mute them).
  • free entry / no “table rent” (maybe you didn’t think venue’s food/snacks/beverages were all that great and/or great a deal anyway)
  • easy to see/share screen displays – none of the issues of how to get half a dozen or more folks to easily and well see what’s on someone’s (sometimes small) screen in a crowded cafe or the like – so works much better for demonstrations, often helping answer questions, etc.
  • easy to have the not (very) portable home computer in/at the meeting – e.g. that big desktop/server class machine you have some Linux question/issue with, or want to show/demonstrate something on … very easy to have it be in virtual meeting – no need to lug it to BerkeleyLUG physical meeting.
  • home camera(s) – and not (can always turn ’em off / disable), … but can also showcase your cat(s) or whatever (or show how they assist you with Linux) or other home stuff that’s not allowed/convenient/feasible to drag to physical meeting. Oh, and bad haircut or just don’t have the outfit you want to wear to a meeting or whatever … use of camera is not at all required – so, can go to meetings and not show one’s face/person – if so desired.
  • “table” space – no issues with crowding and lack of available seating together at meeting location.
  • etc. 🙂

Removing spambot Users

Removing spambot Users

So, on our newer hosting, after we opened up registrations, but before we added simple Math Capatcha on registration, a lot of spambots registered as Users.  Mostly not a problem, as we’ve got good anti-spam – notably Akismet Anti-Spam.  But we want to clean that up – remove the spambot users.  But how do we tell the spambot Users from legitimate users?  That’s not super-easy, as there’s no simple way, based on just Username and Email Address – which is often all (or nearly all) we have to go by.  So, what can we/you do?  We’ll remove spambot accounts starting about a month from now.  Here’s where you come in:

User action needed / how do I avoid getting my User account removed along with the spambot accounts?:

  • Looks like the spambots can’t be bothered to set a First Name and/or Last Name on the profile of their account, so set a non-blank First Name and/or Last Name on your Profile Personal Options.
  • Be or become a subscriber to our BerkeleyLUG list (Google Groups).  For all email addresses subscribed to that list, for Users Registered on our BerkeleyLUG web site where we have a matched email address, we’ll presume that user isn’t a spambot and won’t remove that registered User account in our spambot purging efforts (be sure your email addresses match – do you need to change/update for them to match?).
  • Be grandfathered in (only applies to a very small number of Users) – if your account was already on the site before we migrated hosting (your account was created before 2019-08-30), we’ll consider you grandfathered in and not a spambot – that’s only these Username accounts:

One-off Pi Day and Search for new locale

(reposting, as this was posted earlier (2019-09-13) in a demoted location)

One-off Pi Day

BerkeleyLUG is having a one-off Pi Day this Sunday, 2019-09-15 from 12Noon to 3pm at Cafe Blue Door.  The regular BerkeleyLUG Pi Day is still the first Sunday of the month (next one is on October 6th.)

As regular BerkeleyLUG participant tomrlopes wrote on the mailing-list within the past two months :

Same place and time as the Berkeley LUG meetings:  Cafe Blue Door from noon till 3 pm.  Raspberry Pi, Arduino or any single board computer welcome.
Enable ssh (headless):  create empty file ssh in the boot volume
Preconfigure WIFI: mount rootfs partition and edit /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf  so that it looks like this
: country=US
: ctrl_interface=DIR=/var/run/wpa_supplicant GROUP=netdev
: update_config=1
: network={
:       ssid=”Blue Door Cafe”
:       psk=”bluedoor2019″
: }

Search for a new locale

Cafe Blue Door has gotten quite crowded with students on the last couple of regular BerkeleyLUG meetups, what with Cal’s Fall Semester fully underway.

As regular BerkeleyLUG participant michaelpaoli wrote earlier this week in a Comment following the last post :

… meeting venue has been bit of an issue and there’ve been some changes on that. This past Sunday’s meeting (2019-09-08) didn’t work so well with venue … though still many of us did settle/”squeeze” in there after a while (and attempting some nearby alternatives).
We’re continuing to look at / research alternatives – both venue, and possibly adjusting timing (notably possibly starting earlier).

One alternative that may be worth exploring before/during/after the One-off Pi Day this Sunday is Wrecking Ball Coffee Roaster’s 1600 Shattuck Ave shop in North Berkeley, at the site of what used to be a Philz Coffee.
As its East Bay Express writeup Wrecking Ball Coffee Expands to the East Bay wrote :

The downstairs level of the two-story cafe is full of light. Upstairs, there’s a long communal table for studying, a couple of small tables, some armchairs, a couch, and a small outdoor area that’ll be turned into a kids’ play area.

Note from the respective Yelp pages and that both previous BerkeleyLUG meetup venues 85C Bakery Cafe and Algorithm Coffee shut down within the last half-year.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions on any or all of the above, in the below Comments.

Site “hosting” moved: (now on balug virtual machine)

Site “hosting” moved: (now on balug virtual machine).
The web site (main) URL is and domain is
On 2019-08-30 its “hosting” was migrated from hosting to
being “hosted” on balug ( virtual machine. (and that domain) is what remains of old content and site location,
essentially all content was migrated.
Expect (and domain
to be going away in the (not too horribly distant) future.

New Location: Cafe Blue Door

So, effective 2019-06-09 we have a new meeting location:
Cafe Blue Door
2244 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
(please also see our meetings page)
as 85C Bakery Cafe has permanently closed their Berkeley location. I think folks will generally find the variety of food and beverages at Cafe Blue Door to be better than 85C Bakery Cafe, and Cafe Blue Door also lacks the display of sportsball screens and the noise of them and their fans that had become quite problematic at Bobby G’s Pizzeria. Cal students also return for regular session 2019-08-21, so we will want to keep that in mind as we continue to investigate potentially better meeting locations, as Cafe Blue Door may become more crowded/noisy once the Cal students are back in full force.

And … back to 85C for now

And yes, after various communications, at least for now we’re moving our meeting location back to
85C Bakery Cafe. (for current meetings information, location, etc., see: Meetings).

Algorithm Coffee Co. was certainly worth the “experiment”, and certainly had a fair number of advantages,

there were a couple key issues that made it “not (yet?) good enough” to continue meeting there – at least presently, most notably:

  • noise levels and acoustics – the place has little in the way of sound dampening materials/surfaces, fairly loud music, and patrons can be relatively loud to.  Net effect, we had approximately 20% of or attendees find it intolerably loud – so loud they wouldn’t come back and/or it was headache inducing, etc.  And I’d also guestimate about 1/3 or more found the noise level rather to quite annoying … e.g. I could converse with persons adjacent to me, one further away or across the table, with difficulty, but further away at same table – mostly couldn’t have a conversation – I couldn’t overtalk the noise for them to hear me, nor could I generally hear them over the noise.
  • seating – seating was difficult/tight – though we did manage to get chairs have have most (about 90%) of us squeezed around one large table, there weren’t that many free chairs available, and a lot of the time folks were shuffling chairs about, or looking for chairs that might be available that could be relocated (e.g. most all the outdoor seating chairs got dragged in by patrons, so the would actually have a seat at a table).

So … back to 85C – at least for now.  We’ll continue to look for better – several persons are working on it – feel free also to assist/volunteer/suggest – might be best to mostly do that on our List.

On that New Location of Algorithm Coffee Co. for BerkeleyLUG, starting Sunday 2019-04-14.

Here’s a bit more useful info than the previous brief posting on our hopeful change of venue for the Berkeley Linux Users Group away from 85C Bakery & Cafe and to Algorithm Coffee Company :

Please feel free to leave your comments and thoughts on this post below.