Lockdown continues along with the rise of new Zoom-etiquette, disrupting the established way people perceive others with screen glitches and sound latency problems. Zoom delays what people say by a fraction, as the computer needs time to ‘piece together’ what was said to protect loss of any speech. This is well intended but latency makes it harder for us to follow the speaker so your eyes wander. Often it is not what you say on Zoom, but what is behind you that matters. Having a strong ‘bookshelf game’ makes you stand out of the crowd. But you need to know your place so don’t overcook it if you are a mere office junior. If you are Ed Milliband, you need the Full Monty of punchy bookshelves behind you. If you are Obama on the other hand, semi-empty shelves are fine. Brush up on the nuances of Zoom bookshelf choices on Twitter @BCredibility
Get me the Bolly Patsy!
Not to bring the tone down but my favourite Zoom backgrounds this week were not books but old BBC movie sets taken from Old Vic (EastEnders), Absolutely Fabulous and many others alike. These treasures, released courtesy of the BBC Archive collection, will help out those Zoombies who prefer digital books and lost out in the bookshelf credibility stakes. As Bill Thompson (BBC Digital Planet) revealed, sets don’t have agents so every set from Dr Who, East Enders to A for Andromeda are up for digital grabs completely free. A full sets selection for you to plunder for your Virtual Background on Zoom is here
We are all John Peel now
The WFH (Work from home) game now has many levels. You cracked Zoom, got the extra screens, and mastered Breakout Rooms, the next level is all about sound. You can’t be a serious Zoomer without an external microphone arm for your home office. We are all like radio DJs now, but with beta glitchy tools. Your contribution to those dreaded Forecast meetings will sound a lot more lucid with new, crispy clear sounds quality. The Blue Yeti mic, fixed on an external arm will make a big difference to what your team will hear on the other end.John Peel would not have it any other way.
Meet me at the Meeter
Zoom is not the only game in town, so your calendar will be getting full of virtual meetings to join on different video platforms. They come in all shapes and sizes, from Google Meets, Jitsi, MS Teams (arrgh) or good old GoToMeeting. To cut the fuff and simplify calling while dealing with this mess of different video tools we found Meeter – a newly launched macOS app that you can park in your Menu bar. It’s job in life is to help you to quickly join your scheduled calls on any services like Zoom, Webex or others. All you need to do is to connect your calendar and this hardworking little app will pull in all of your incoming calls. Then it offers a nifty button to launch the call.
Saves time and makes you feels efficient!
Are you looking at me?
Lockdown end is nearing but we will not escape the omnipresence of screens. Going for dinner in your local restaurant may involve being greeted by a robot with a screen camera, taking your face scan, performing a health ID check including the abilty to measure your temperature.
Restaurants will need to be booking-only with full contact-less experience provided by robo-waiter come Corona Security Officer. He will take you to your seat and may even take your payment at the end as FacePay (currently in beta testing). Just like Shelbot – Sheldon Cooper would be proud.
Peter Crouch as measured by beacons
It is hard to keep your social distance of recommended 2 meters or 6.6 ft. In my park most people try to keep the distance but I can see it is typically more like 3ft, so about half what is needed to stop virus reaching you from your friends’ breath. An easy Aide-Memoire is to imagine it to be the length of Peter Crouch and not Danny de Vito. But if you want more reliable reminder, a beacon worn like a lanyard around your neck will beep (or vibrate, whatever sensation you chose) if you came to close to other fellow human wearing the same beacon, from a company Estimotes.com. We may order those for the office, best to be 6 foot apart than 6 foot under.
In the meantime stay safe and email me your Work from Home tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tip of the week will win you a brand new Blue Yeti external mike, courtesy of Hydro66.com