2021i6, Wednesday: CVP doesn't like Macs.

Or maybe it just doesn't like me; but there's a solution. And Octavia Butler is glorious.

Short thought: I’m in the middle of a multi-day hearing, which moved to a remote setting (using CVP, the browser-based vidconf platform whose pending introduction was massively accelerated last year to deal with the pandemic). I’m not sorry about that; four days in an ET hearing room in Croydon amid Tier 4 didn’t exactly delight. (Bury St Edmunds ET did the right thing too on Monday, moving my 10-day hearing starting on the 13th to CVP. Not all courts and tribunals are behaving so sensibly, but kudos to these two - and the Lord Chief Justice has now made it pretty clear that remote or hybrid is the default, unless justice simply can’t be done that way.)

While I’d infinitely prefer to do it over Zoom or even Teams, the CVP rollout is nonetheless one of HMCTS’s success stories.

However - and perhaps oddly since a large number of barristers use Macs (at least, the ones I know) - I’ve been unpleasantly surprised at how poorly CVP plays with them. My first few CVP hearings, Chrome - the recommended browser - refused to recognise any camera or microphone, built-in or otherwise. Firefox worked, but wouldn’t access my external webcam and mic; only the built-in ones. You can access CVP through Teams or Skype, but some of the functions are restricted. (And on older Macs, such as my previous machine, a 2018 MacBook Air, Teams sends the fan screaming; although the new and lovely M1 MacBook Pro is just fine.)

I’ve finally (I think) found a solution to the Mac/Chrome/CVP misery. It’s an annoying workaround, but at least it seems to do the trick, which is to:

  • Quit Chrome
  • Go into System Preferences/Security & Privacy/Privacy
  • Untick Chrome in the list of permissions for both Camera and Microphone. (If it’s not in both lists, add it to each with the little “+” button. THEN untick them.
  • Then retick them again…
  • And restart Chrome.

Your mileage may vary. I seem to have to do this every time I leave the “room”, which is a pain. But at least it works.

Someone is right on the internet/something I really need to read: For someone who firmly recognises that great literature is great literature irrespective of its genre, I am sinfully under-read when it comes to Octavia Butler. The wonderful Brain Pickings newsletter drove this home to me in its Christmas issues, by linking to this insightful, impactful selection from the verses which head the chapters in Butler’s Earthseed books.

One rather painfully on-the-nose example:

Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.

To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.

To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.

To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.

To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.

To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery.

Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents are now on my Kindle. Next up, I think. And Brain Pickings is brilliant. Well worth a look.