‘On Air’ Light for Microsoft Teams and Zoom Meetings

Back in the 90’s, the 1990’s, I used to be a late-night radio show host on Froggy. I was known as Jeremiah Bullfrog. When I left the radio business to start my own software company, Troy, the head engineer, gave me a parting gift – an ‘On Air’ light. Our company had remodeled and consolidated studios and lots of surplus gear had accumulated. I had the On Air light on my office shelf for over 20 years. With the recent events, I came up with a project to put the On Air light to use.

On Air Light

Along with the rest of the world, I have been working at home for the past couple of weeks. All of my meetings are now online/virtual ones and we use Microsoft Teams and Zoom. We also use video to better facilitate a connection and help us focus on the meeting. The camera that I have doesn’t have a light indicator showing whether it is in use. So, I put two and two together and come up with a remote controllable ‘On Air’ light for online meetings. It was the perfect project to entertain my three-year-old for a few hours. He was delighted every time the light turned on.

George helping me hack the ‘On Air’ light in my shop

George and I ripped apart a Sunbeam Touch Light that I got for $1 in a surplus sale. This light had a strip of LEDs, a controller, and a power supply. I just added an ESP8266 module and connected it to ThingSpeak using my tutorial that I published a few years ago. I wrote a little Visual Basic.NET script based on a project that I found on CodeGuru to detect whether or not the webcam was in use or not. If it’s in use, the script sends a signal to ThingSpeak to turn on the light.

New Episode of The NotHans Podcast

Have you checked out my podcast lately? I started one back in 2008 and have faithfully produced episodes and have been your voice of reason in this chaotic world.

On my latest episode, I invite George to co-host with me. He was drawn to my glowing new microphone in my office. I recently bought the HyperX QuadCast to refresh my old set up. George loved the red LEDs illuminating the pop filter.

After a few minutes of making sounds and talking gibberish, I decided to record a new episode of The NotHans Podcast. George was an excellent co-host. He was rolling with the conversation and even told a joke. You have to check it out.

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Tracking My Baby’s Progress on Our Software Team’s Kanban Board

My team at work uses a Kanban board to track our software development process. We use Kanban to track tasks and pull new tasks to our respective swim lanes. We use sticky notes to indicate our tasks and move them around to indicate their status, such as “To Develop”, “To Test”, or “Completed”.

Kanban is a method for managing knowledge work which balances demands for work with the available capacity for new work. Work items are visualized to give participants a view of progress and process, from task definition to customer delivery. Team members “pull” work as capacity permits, rather than work being “pushed” into the process when requested.

In software development, for example, Kanban provides a visual process-management system which aids decision-making about what, when and how much to produce. Although the method (inspired by the Toyota Production System and lean manufacturing) originated in software development and IT, it may be applied to any professional service whose work outcome is intangible rather than physical.

Wikipedia

For fun, I added my baby as a task. And, tracked the sticky all the way to completion… He’s our best feature yet!