BSS Zoom Event

In lieu of our 2021 Conference we plan to host three talks via Zoom on 17 April 2021. They will start at 17:00 BST and expect the entire event to last about 90 minutes. This time of day should suit those living in any time zone from the west coast of North America to the Middle East.

The speakers will be Fred Sawyer (President of NASS), Roger Bailey (sundial designer and former Secretary of NASS) and Woody Sullivan (Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and instigator of the first sundial on Mars), all of whom are well known to those who attend our Conferences. We shall provide titles for the talks in the new year. Meantime, Fred has promised that there will be no equations in his talk!


If you would like to attend please email You will be sent an acknowledgement and, later, a formal Zoom invitation. The event is free and open to anyone.


Many people have become very familiar with Zoom over the last few months but if you have managed to avoid it so far and would like some help, please read on for guidance on both its use and how to install it, kindly provided by BSS member Mike Faraday, as well as an offer of 1:1 assistance from Frank King.

  • If you’ve not used Zoom before, there are some steps to take beforehand. If you are unsure and want a practice, email to arrange a short 1:1 practice a few days before, to help familiarise you with the options. There is not enough time in the meeting to discuss individual problems.
  • For the check-in process on the day, we need to know who you are. Many people have their screen name appear as their actual name or similar but some just show on screen as ‘GalaxyX’ ,’Ipad5′ or even a grand-daughter’s name. If you can change this before you join the meeting that would be very helpful. If not, we’ll send you a Chat message at the time to ask who you are – please look out for this and reply, as we need to prevent unwelcome people trying to join. We can then change your name on screen for the duration of the meeting. This is better than just leaving you in the waiting room. If you set up your name before, this is remembered and set up for future Zoom sessions.
  • You can join the meeting from 10 minutes before the start time, to avoid the last-minute rush into the ‘waiting room’. Once you have connected it’s a good time to leave your screen and go to make a cup of something before settling down to join in.
  • To avoid everyone talking over each other, for some of the time we may have to keep you all ‘on mute’ (ie with your microphone switched off) unless it’s clear you’d like to speak. Let us know if that’s the case at any time, but particularly for the Q&A, by:
    • putting your hand up so we can see you (but if you wave vaguely, it can look as if you’re just reaching for the settings on your screen)
    • or sending a ‘Chat’ message (the Chat button should be at the bottom of your Zoom screen, perhaps after clicking the ‘three dots’ button there)
    • or clicking the “Raise Hand” button
  • To speak if you have been muted, you need to un-mute your device, by pressing the Unmute button, or by holding down the space bar (if you have a keyboard) for as long as you are speaking, then releasing it.
  • Mute yourself (button is on the screen) if you want to prevent others listening to you. Remember if you are not muted and talk to someone with you, or let the phone ring or the dog bark, then everyone can hear everything (!), and (just as important) it distorts the main meeting.
  • If you want to stop others seeing you, you can click the Video Off button, and your camera is replaced by your name, or a photo/picture that you can set up in advance. This is a good option if you want to leave the room. You can turn Video on when you want
  • If you can see only the speaker in one of many ‘little boxes’ on your screen, your view is probably set to ‘Gallery view’. To see whoever’s speaking as a large box on your screen, look at the top right (it may be elsewhere around your Zoom screen edge on some devices, again possibly after clicking the ‘three dots’ button) and just click to change the view to ‘Speaker view’.
  • On some devices, only four picture ‘boxes’ can be shown but don’t worry; you and everyone else are there and you will still see and hear everything, particularly if you use ‘Speaker view’.
  • Don’t forget that once you have installed Zoom on your device, with the free version you can hold your own meetings: one-to-one for an unlimited time, or for 3-100 people limited to 40 minutes. Although participants can join via the website, it is far easier to use if you have installed and registered.
  • Remember that you probably have the free version, and it is free to use. Only the Pro version needs a subscription, and it offers a lot more features, but for personal use the free version is adequate.


Installation of Zoom is straightforward and similar to any other app. Go to and follow the links to install on a computer or, via the appropriate app store links, on Apple or Android mobile devices.

If you would like more details, please see Mike’s walkthrough with screenshots.

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