I was worried about renewing the Let's Encrypt certification for my site, but it turned out to be a simple matter. Now I know how it's done, that imaginary worry won't come back. I used the instructions here. I forgot how I originally set up the certificate, and it seemed to reinstall a lot of stuff, but the main thing is that it worked.
Samah called me in to give support in the background for the Zoom conference last night. I don't know much about Zoom. She had also forgotten to tell me that she was setting up a virtual studio and that she wanted the whole thing to go live on Facebook. If I'd known the latter, I would have been able to inform people about it earlier. If I'd known the former, I might have been more prepared.
This is how it looked (the illusion vs the reality):
At the beginning there was a sudden problem. It turns out that it's possible to "lock" a Zoom meeting so that even registered participants can't enter. Somehow, we'd locked the meeting. I should have known there was an issue, as there were only 18 participants and nobody else seemed to be joining. Eventually I found the setting and unbolted the gates. Then, due to another mis-setting I had to manually admit everyone, every few minutes; all the stragglers who had turned up late, or simply hadn't managed to get in.
In the end, it all came right. We had also promised that people could ask questions. But since Samah was on-screen, I ended up manually writing out each question from the chat in longhand, and someone had to hand those to her, as if we were still in the pre-industrial age.
Afterwards, since we had forgotten to record the Zoom meeting itself, I had to figure out how to download the video from the Facebook live meeting in order to upload it to our YouTube channel. After looking up various sneaky ways to do this, I discovered that Facebook itself allows one to do this, in a more simple way. I have such mistrust and dislike for Facebook, I was almost sure they would prevent that.
On "virtual studios": I'm a communicator and nobody's idea of a "marketer". I prefer to tell it like it is and look at that ugly reality in the second picture above than at a pretty illusion. And I'm thinking that most of our news programs originate in fancier versions of the improvised virtual studio above. There's a story about Chaim Yavin, Israel's former veteran news anchor that he would show up in the studio looking prim in a business suit and tie, but wearing shorts, since nobody ever saw him from the waste down. If illusion-making is so deeply embedded in our culture that even our news programs begin by cultivating illusion, then what does it say about our society?
We are willing victims, too. The "human interest" stories on the news come accompanied by background music, as if we are watching a sad or happy movie. It's one of the reasons I can't tolerate TV news.