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An unexpected tool has helped tremendously for our teams in terms of remote work: Mumble (http://wiki.mumble.info/wiki/Main_Page).

Mumble is a cross platform, open source VoIP application. Often used for gaming in a group (like Teamspeak or Ventrilo). It has the idea of channels (rooms, offices, etc) is very high quality, low latency and low bandwidth installed on your companies servers in minutes, always encrypted... and clients are available for linux, windows, os-x, android, ios, etc.

So you can have channels like "Bob's Office", "Working on XYZ problem", etc. People can come into these channels to speak to you and can leave them. It feels a bit like an office environment, I can pop into Jay's office, talk to him about an issue, and go back to my office. I recommend people setup Push To Talk, which really helps create a silent non-annoying environment. Basically, me and another developer can be working on an issue, but maybe not actively talking, but in the same channel -- and there is blissful silence... I don't hear the fan, the cat, the fact that his wife came into talk to him for a minute, etc.

When I start my work-day -- I start it by logging into the mumble server (or more accurately, moving myself out the AFK channel) -- and when I end it, I move myself back into the AFK channel. This is a realtime communication system, async work still happens... well, everywhere else.

It is easy to be on all day as an "in-office" experience... when I am eating lunch, I create a "eating lunch" channel under AFK and put myself there.... We find it works so much better than video chat (or really anything else), is far more casual (like an office) and far more fluid... it is like having an open door policy. Sometimes I might be in a channel that says "Debugging Race Issue Go Away" -- but it technically doesn't keep anyone out, it is a request.

Using mumble day to day basically changed the experience from mediocre to great for us. We still use everything else, but mumble is our real time core, and slack is our async core.

One of the big downsides of Mumble, Teamspeak and Ventrillo is that they aren't made for business. This means they are really hard to get up and running, which is especially annoying when you are just just trying them out. We're actually working on something similar to these tools but built for business.

We're currently in private beta and I'd be interested to get your input on what we're building. We've got a quick walkthrough here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV7HBXuhT7Q and you can signup for the private beta at http://speak.io

Is your product OS-X focused? One of the big things about Mumble for us was the cross-platform support, we have developers on Linux, OS-X and Windows all talking together every day.

What codex are you guys using?

Yes, currently we are OSX only, but that's for this initial private beta. We'll be expanding to other platforms very soon. If you think it could be helpful for your team I'd love to reach back out when we support other platforms :)

Oh and re codex, I believe we're using opus.

Interesting. I know Mumble is used a lot in the gaming community, but I never thought of the idea of using it for workspace/business.

I wrote a webapp targeted for gamers to easily setup temporary Mumble servers (http://guildbit.com). So I'm sure someone can build a service similar to wrap the Mumble API for workspace users. Similar to Slack with IRC.

Yeah, I really think a polished / pre-configurable UI for business could be an amazing thing for Mumble (both for business, "use this binary" and for guilds / gamers ... same thing "use this binary" ... binary carries the config, etc). I consider Mumble like IRC, amazing but a bit raw. Someone is going to take shiny interface to it and make a killing in business.

This looks polished and simple to set up. Nice work. I'll work it through at least two remote work use cases.

Mumble core developer here. Glad to hear Mumble is useful to you and your coworkers. Always nice to get positive feedback.

If anyone has question about the software or the project feel free to ask.

Have any of the core developers considered creating a very polished / simplified / professional supported client for business?

Stuff like "native look" on OS-X, some shiny features and ability to be easily pre-configured and shipped to people. So I could just give <person-X> a pre-configured little bundle and they just run it, it would generate the cert and do the wizard, but we would have stuff like default push-to-talk, a few default keys, etc.

I have actually though about a boiled down client with baked in default configuration before. I wasn't considering business applications though but was thinking about the use in podcasting. Never got started on it though.

We work on Mumble in our spare time and as such developer time is scarce. We try to focus on what we think most users are going to benefit from. There's a long "Would be neat to have X" list ;)

One goal for the future is to make Mumble more modular which should make creating such a specialized client feasible without much extra work.

If someone here is interested in C++ with Qt and wants to contribute to a FOSS project used by nearly 400,000 users monthly we can always use more hands.

So I hate C++ and have no spare time but if my team likes this stuff I could throw some money or hardware at it. Let me know if that might help.

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