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apple-music
Which apps have been ruling the App Store during lockdown?
Photo: Apple

5 ways to look great on a video call

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Lighting? Check. Clothes? Maybe. Teeth? Absolutely! Flattering angle? Nope. Use these videoconferencing tips to look your best on calls.
Lighting? Check. Clothes? Maybe. Teeth? Absolutely! Flattering angle? Nope.
Photo: Austin Distel/Unsplash

Whether you’re working from home, hanging out with friends on group FaceTime, or attending events remotely, you’re probably using video calling a lot more than you ever have before. While you probably make the effort to present yourself well in real-life meatspace, on Skype, Zoom or FaceTime, I bet you look terrible.

Fear not. Today we’ll see five ways to make sure you look great on a video call.

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Zoom
Zoom's kind of a big deal right now.
Photo: Allie Smith/Unsplash

Germany and Taiwan crack down on Zoom use by officials

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Zoom video conferencing for Mac
Some countries are worried about Zoom's security.
Photo: Zoom

Germany and Taiwan are cracking down on governmental use of videoconferencing app Zoom amid concerns that it might be too risky to use.

In an internal memo, the German foreign ministry restricted use of the service. The country said security and data-protection weaknesses make Zoom too dangerous to use, according to newspaper Handelsblatt. Taiwan also banned official use of Zoom for the same reasons.

CBS turns to FaceTime and Zoom to shoot new episode of All Rise

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All-rise
The cast of All Rise will be practicing social distancing while filming.
Photo: CBS

CBS has found a novel way to continue filming its TV show All Rise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The courthouse legal drama will film a virtual episode using FaceTime, WebEx and Zoom from the actors’ homes making it the first primetime show to be filmed while still practicing social distancing.

Give your videoconferencing calls killer audio quality

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Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Not every videoconference audio setup has to be as janky as this.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You’ve probably made more video calls in the last few weeks than you’ve made in the previous few years combined. And if they were on your iPhone or iPad, then they probably sounded great. But what if you’re using a Mac, with its prehistoric mics1?

No worries. Through the magic of technology, you can use a better mic with your Mac’s Skype or FaceTime. (As a bonus, it also might make you feel more comfortable during videoconferences.)

5 Zoom alternatives to keep you connected during COVID-19 crisis

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Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing. Check out these Zoom alternatives, including Houseparty.
Zoom definitely isn't your only option for videoconferencing.
Photo: Life on Air

Zoom might be the best video-conferencing app, but that’s a bit like saying Facebook is the best social network. It might be true 1, but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel dirty if you use it. Despite a seemingly never-ending stream of privacy violations, security holes and utter disregard for its customers, Zoom is still being used as the de facto standard video conferencing and broadcasting tool during the COVID-19 crisis.

We’ve already seen the problems with Zoom. And we’ve also shown you how to protect yourself if you choose to use Zoom despite the company’s many privacy missteps. (Zoom pledged to do better this week.) But what about other services you could rely on during the coronavirus shutdown? Read on. We have five great Zoom alternatives you can use.

Amid booming popularity, Zoom commits to improved security and privacy

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Zoom promises to work harder to protect user privacy.
Millions have turned to the Zoom video-conferencing service, but it’s also facing criticism for security lapses.
Photo: Zoom

Zoom had over 200 million daily meeting participants in March, about 20x the average, as people isolate themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But this video conferencing service faces criticism for a lack of security. That’s why Zoom CEO Eric Yuan on Thursday stopped all work on adding new features to its software to instead focus on fixing problems with privacy and public trust.

Using Zoom? Take these steps to protect your privacy [Updated]

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yoga class zoom
Zoom lets you keep attending your local yoga class, but at what cost?
Photo: Anupam Mahapatra/Unsplash

Video-conferencing tool Zoom is seeing a surge in use during the coronavirus pandemic, due to people being stuck at home and unable to meet in meatspace groups. I’ve read about people using Zoom to drop in on yoga and pilates classes, as well as for more usual business-related activities.

Zoom removes controversial code that shares data with Facebook

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Zoom
Get the latest update today.
Photo: Zoom

Video conferencing app Zoom has removed controversial code that shared user data to Facebook — even when those users didn’t have a Facebook account.

Zoom insists the data collected did not include personal information, but rather anonymous information about a user’s device. It has apologized for the “oversight” and made changes to the Facebook login process to prevent it.