Zoom News Round Up

Over the last few years Zoom has become a stupidly well know communications tool. A few years ago HR managers panicking, started Googling and implementing Zoom team building ideas. Well, a few years later, it’s more of the same.

MacBook Webcams Are the Worst. Here’s How to Look Better on Zoom Calls

If you own any MacBook besides the 2021 MacBook Pro M1, one thing’s certain: Your webcam is pretty bad. Sure, at 720p, it’s a functioning camera — but it’s noisy, looks flat and lacks depth-sensing technology. Although Apple could outfit its rumored 2022 MacBook Pro with a full HD webcam, that laptop expected later this year won’t resolve your pixelated appearance in Zoom meetings right this instant.

The 720p webcam is the same basic type of camera the company has been putting in laptops for years, and this isn’t the first time we’ve complained about it. A lot of Windows laptops are barely better, many with similar sub-1080p resolutions, but at least some have better light sensitivity, color accuracy or depth sensing for facial-recognition logins. 

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A Stream Deck Mini is the perfect little Zoom controller

One of my missions during the extended work-from-home transition of the past few years has been to find little ways to make the annoying parts of the experience slightly better and less annoying. Like many others, I’ve found a comfortable, ergonomic chair, set up a dedicated standing desk that is only used for work, and explored leveling up my video call quality by repurposing a mirrorless camera as a webcam.

But one of the most annoying things has been using Zoom itself — namely, fumbling around for the mute / unmute and leave call buttons. In two years, I’ve not been able to memorize the keyboard shortcuts for them, and since when I’m on Zoom calls, my hands are usually off my keyboard anyways. I’m always the last one to leave the call because I can’t seem to hit that button in a reasonable amount of time. I’m not handy enough to create elaborate pull-chain systems to hang up the call, either.

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Zoom agrees to privacy conditions, gets a low-risk rating from the Netherlands

Hot on the heels of Microsoft’s report card from the Dutch department of Justice and Security comes news of rival messaging platform Zoom receiving a nod via a renewed Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIA).

The Privacy Company performed the assessment and was commissioned by SURF (the purchasing organization for Netherlands’ universities.)

The first assessment kicked off in 2020 and by May 2021 [PDF] concluded that there were nine high and three low data protection risks for users of the video conferencing platform.

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