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)
Effective 2021-05-09, physical meetings have resumed, and virtual also still continues. See Meetings for latest. Also applies to Pi.BerkeleyLUG.
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: https://berkeleylug.com/googlegroup/ 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. 🙂
For those that haven’t been following along, there are some opportunities to help out. Subscribe to their list if you are interested.
We meet at Bobby G’s Pizzeria on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from Noon to 3PM in Berkeley near the Downtown Berkeley BART station. Bobby G’s is on University Ave near Shattuck Ave. We hope you join us, join the discussion on our email list and/or join us in #berkeleylug on freenode.net by following the tabs at the top.