At the beginning of COVID lockdown and multiple people working from home it was obvious there was a need to let others know when I8217m in a meeting or on a live webcam. So naturally it took me one year to finally do something about it. Now I8217m here to share what I learned along the way. You too can have your very own 8220do not disturb8221 sign automatically light up outside your door to tell people not to walk in half-dressed on laundry day.

At first I was surprised Zoom doesn8217t have this kind of feature built in. But then again I might use Teams Meet Hangouts WebEx Bluejeans or any number of future video collaboration apps. Wouldn8217t it make sense to just use a system-wide watch for active webcams or microphones Like most problems in life this one can be helped with the Linux kernel. A simple check of the uvcvideo module will show if a video device is in use. Without using events all that is left is to poll it for changes. I chose to build a taskbar icon for this. I would normally do this with my trusty C. But I decided to step out of my usual comfort zone and use Python in case someone wanted to port it to other platforms. I also wanted to renew my lesser Python-fu and face my inner white space demons. I came up with the following 90 lines of practical and simple but insecure Python.

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