Many of us rarely touched a video chat or videoconferencing tool until the pandemic hit. Now, we videoconference daily (or more often) for work meetings, to talk to clients, to stay in touch with friends and family, and for school—we’ve gone from zero to Zoom!
Zoom is the most widely used videoconferencing system in the world due to its generous feature set for free users and the ease of joining video chats by people without prior experience. But you can learn to master some of its subtle, hard-to-find, or confusing features and increase your efficiency and enjoyment as a participant and as a host. Take Control of Zoom takes the pain out of learning how to best use this powerful tool. The book covers a broad range of topics, from which Zoom app to use and how to configure your account and app even before your first meeting, to how to work among Zoom views and chat in a meeting, to creating and managing your own meetings.
But what about privacy and security? Zoom’s skyrocketing use revealed how insecure some of its software design choices were and how sloppy the company had been as it added options. Since March 2020, Zoom has rolled out hundreds of fixes and dozens of changes, all well documented in the book. Take Control of Zoom doesn’t shirk discussing past flaws and Zoom’s ongoing plans, and offers insight into which purposes you can safely use the system for and how to re-establish trust in what they offer.
Here’s what you will find in Take Control of Zoom:
- Learn how to install and configure Zoom.
- Decide if a web app meets your needs or it’s something to recommend to other meeting participants.
- Configure your physical setup and your hardware for best results on video.
- Don’t forget that even if you don’t see a stream of yourself, you’re on camera for other people.
- Upgrade your audio for better comfort and quality.
- Understand Zoom’s past missteps with security and what it promises now.
- Master participating in a meeting, including the various methods of “speaking up.”
- Get to know Zoom’s many mobile and desktop views for seeing other people and shared screens.
- Become a host and start meetings with one other person or 1,000.
- Dig into Zoom’s meeting controls to create safe meetings and manage public ones, keeping participants safe and blocking or removing problematic members.
- Find out how to preserve your privacy when sharing apps, presentations, or other parts of your screen.
- Record a meeting for later playback, presentation, or a podcast.
- Decide whether upgrading to a paid Zoom tier offers enough improvement and features for meetings you host.
What’s New in Version 1.0.1 and 1.0.2
These updates largely fixes minor errors and typos found in version 1.0 and some additional ones in 1.0.1.
The 1.0.1 update also featured the following changes:
- I included the latest information on Zoom’s current and upcoming plans related to improving security and encryption. The company continues to reveal more details and has rolled out version 5 of the Zoom apps, which is required to use the service as of May 30, 2020. See “Encryption” for more details.
- The book now offers insight into how mobile participants may find large meetings frustrating.
- The spotlight feature available to hosts to promote a particular video stream front and center to all meeting participants can be confusing; I’ve dug further into the details. See “Work with Groups in Meetings.”
Posted by Glenn Fleishman on June 23, 2020
Zoom is constantly tweaking its privacy and security settings, and they announced some minor changes today that I will fold into the next update of the book, slated for July.
Zoom will no longer use the term “password” to refer to the secret you use to join a meeting. Because your Zoom account has a password, this may have confused less-sophisticated users, who could have been sharing their account password instead of one required for a meeting.
Instead, Zoom is updating their apps and web interfaces to use the term “passcode,” which they say more accurately reflects the nature of the secret. This doesn’t change behavior in any way, but it does make it clearer what you’re talking about. The company didn’t state a timetable for those interface changes, but watch for them in the coming weeks.
The more significant change only affects people with paid accounts. Starting July 17, 2020, Zoom will require any meeting without a passcode has a Waiting Room enabled. You can also have both a passcode and Waiting Room, which I highly recommend and cover in the book from the user and host perspective.
For people with paid accounts, from the single-host Pro up through enterprise flavors, it’s a change for any host who had omitted a passcode and disabled the Waiting Room.
Zoom had turned on Waiting Rooms by default for all accounts in May, but hosts can override that on a per-account or per-meeting basis, and administrators for business accounts can set Waiting Room policies that require them or disable them by default for all users.
As of May 9, 2020, hosts with free-tier (Basic) accounts must have a passcode set, so the Waiting Room remains an added option for those accounts.
Posted by Joe Kissell on May 19, 2020
Glenn Fleishman joined Chuck Joiner on MacVoices in a two-part interview to discuss his new book Take Control of Zoom. Needless to say, the interview itself was also conducted using Zoom!
In Part 1, Glenn offers some Zoom tips and discusses Zoom’s privacy and security challenges.
In Part 2, Glenn discusses Zoom vs. the competition, recording options, and more.