Push-to-talk on Meet – Part 2

Let’s go physical!

A couple of weeks ago, I published a post about adding Push-to-talk to Meet. I love that solution and I’m using all the time… or I was.

The problem is that I cleaned my desk and I restored my home office setup due to the #coronavirus situation:

My home office setup

As you can see, now my laptop is on the left side of the desk and so is the webcam. When I look at the camera , my keyboard is on the right, very close to the trackpad.

Nine times out of ten, I mis-tap the spacebar or I touch the trackpad… and I have to turn… and I lose focus… and I forget the question I wanted to ask in the meeting πŸ˜‚πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™‚οΈ

After the article I had a conversation with Daniele Bonaldo and Roberto Orgiu about the need for a physical button to turn on the microphone. We started throwing ideas around about Arduino, RaspberryPi, Usb buttons and bla bla bla and eventually the whole thing died after a few silly jokes.

However, the brain is a fascinating thing that keeps crunching data in background, even if you are not consciously thinking about a certain thing.

Eventually, it hit me:

The camera shutter!!!

Like a million years ago I bought a bluetooth camera shutter for my phone. The idea is that you place your phone on a tripod a few meters away, and you click a tiny button that transmits the proper keyboard event to take the picture. It looks like this:

BT phone camera shutter

I opened the Bluetooth settings screen and I searched for the shutter:

Once connected, it confirmed that deep down this little thing is simply a keyboard with two keys:

I love standards!

The problem is… Which keys?? A bit of Try & Error is always my initial approach: click click and the volume on my MBP goes up.

OK, the big button is Volume Up

Don’t ask me why πŸ˜‚ I have no idea. Anyway, I needed a way to map this key to spacebar.

This is a job for Karabiner!!

Karabiner-Elements is an incredible tool to remap keys on OSX. Once you install it, you can access a setup screen were you can map any key to any other key:

Once you selected the Target device, our shutter, you can choose from the menu on the left the current key: volume_increment and the new key spacebar, and we are done 🎊⏯

️Detecting what the second button is doing

My goal was achieved, but there was one last thing to conquer: the second button. Why? You know why, you nerd! πŸ˜‚

I could not figure out what code it was sending so I turned again to Karabiner. From its menu , I selected

I started clicking the second button and TADA`!

So now, if I need it, I can remap also the second button to whatever I want πŸ’ͺ🏻

Click… Hello, everybody πŸ˜ƒ