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An Alternative View

By Diana Diamond

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About this blog: So much is right — and wrong — about what is happening in Palo Alto. In this blog I want to discuss all that with you. I know many residents care about this town, and I want to explore our collective interests to help ...  (More)

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Can you hear me yet?

Uploaded: Feb 12, 2021
Scene —

Ten members of the “Over 50” club, each sitting in front of their computer, trying to participate in a meeting on Zoom.

Janice: “Can you hear me? Can you hear me? No? Can you hear me now? I can hear you. But you can’t hear me yet?

“I hit the unmute button now. Oh, good, you can hear me but now I can’t see you.

“What? You can’t see me either? What did you tell me to do? Oh, all you can see is my initial. Which button should I push? Ah, the video button. Now can you see me?”

Jim, Zoom moderator: “Bob, are you signed in? I can see your name as a participant but I can’t see your face! You, have to click on the video button. Oh, you did? Then why can’t I see you? Did you click the one on the left side of your screen?

“Oh, I forgot to let Steve and Molly in. Welcome, guys!”

Older member: Why do you have to let us in? I used to let myself in.”?
Jim: “Zoom changed the rules. You have to first wait in the waiting room.”

Susan: “Isn’t it time we start this meeting, Jim? I already raised my hand.”

Janice: “I tried to raise my hand, but I used to do it at the bottom of the participants list and it appeared as a blue hand symbol inext to my name. But I couldn’t do that today. How can I raise my hand because I want to say something.”

Jim: “Zoom has changed how to do it. You have to go to the right-hand button at the bottom of your zoom screen and you will see a rectangle saying “‘rase your hand.’ And don’t forget to lower it after you speak.”

Mary: “When I do that, my hand comes up in yellow, and it’s such a light yellow it’s hard to see on my screen.”

Jim: “Blue was easier, but Zoom changed the color.”

Janice: “My hand is still blue!”

Jim: “Mike, stop waving your hand in front of your screen. When I said raise your hand I meant the little hand symbol next to your name. Don’t just wave at the screen because I won’t know who to call on was first. You all have to wait to be called on.”

Mary: “I don’t like rules like that. It didn’t used to be that way.”

Jim: “Joe, lower your screen. All we can see is your ceiling.”

Susan: “Did Bob just leave us? I don’t see his name anymore.”

Jim: “You mean our president disappeared? I’ll call him.”

Janice: “Can I speak while we’re waiting? I have my hand raised.’

Jim: “I got ahold of our president and he forgot to charge his computer. He’ll be back in one or two minutes.”

Bob: “I’m back. Sorry about the computer interruption. Can you all hear me? I can’t hear you.”


Such us life in these days of Zoom.

Zoom is a great new tool. I use it several times a week. It keeps me sane during these days of isolated inanities. But it’s in its infancy, and has steps to go.

I’m a subscriber, and while I get notices for upgrades, which I do, I don’t get any information on minor changes — like changing the “raise your hand” message. I watched some of their learning videos, but the teachers were so familiar with Zoom that they raced through the subject material. And one lesson was televised from behind the teacher and it was impossible to see what buttons she was pushing on her Zoom screen.

What else is wrong. Did you find some problems?

On a positive note, sometimes it’s so much easier to attend a meeting from my family room instead of driving a couple of miles at night to the meeting site. And meeting attendance seems to be up.

While personal meetings are usually much better, I want to thank you, Zoom, for letting me keep in taking touch with my family, friends and business associates.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Brian Steen, a resident of Greater Miranda,
on Feb 12, 2021 at 3:39 pm

Brian Steen is a registered user.

Diana, Great compilation of Zoom comments and pitfalls! I value Zoom as a flexible communication tool that facilitates seeing friends and family, including folks I probably would not see in non-Covid times. I particularly like interacting with people from afar that I just never would have met. GO Zoom!

Posted by Jennifer, a resident of another community,
on Feb 12, 2021 at 4:14 pm

Jennifer is a registered user.

I find Zoom beyond annoying and only use it for business because I have to. And don't get me started on people who don't know how to use Zoom. Please practice before you come on board, thank you.

Posted by Bob Ohlmann, a resident of Greenmeadow,
on Feb 12, 2021 at 6:34 pm

Bob Ohlmann is a registered user.

Diana, A very amusing essay on some of the problems with Zoom. We have all experienced them. However, the great advantage of Zoom with a small number of participants, or small chat rooms, is the close connections we get that would take months of personal contact. I recently joined a new spiritual community but have never had a in-person service with them because of the lock down. However, the two or three Zoom meetings I have weekly with the community have made me several new friends that I would have taken much longer to know well if we just met after services.

Posted by Bystander, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood,
on Feb 14, 2021 at 7:19 am

Bystander is a registered user.

I think we have all been able to keep in touch during the lockdown with Zoom and other technology in ways we would never have imagined a year ago.

Funny to think that 5 years or so ago Skype seemed to be what everyone was talking about. I can't remember the last time I heard Skype being mentioned or used anywhere.

Of course there are downsides and yes the amusing scenario mentioned is something we can relate to. The reality is, that without Zoom I think we would all be suffering even more. It is amazing to think that we can still have our social and community meetings, children can still interact with their teachers and classes, things like City Council meetings can still go ahead and yes, some people do occasionally hit the headlines by being caught wearing nothing but underwear on the lower half of their body or being stuck looking like a cat.

This small tech company that nobody had heard of a year ago has been a life saver, quite literally, during this. I for one thank them for all they have done to make our lives so much easier this past year. The question should really be, how would we have survived without them?

Posted by Jeff Knowles, a resident of another community,
on Feb 15, 2021 at 4:50 pm

Jeff Knowles is a registered user.

ZOOM is a terrific innovation as it allows interaction from a distance.

I utilize ZOOM for blind dates and it has saved me bundles of wasted cash on goldigging dates simply seeking a free, fancy meal at some expensive restaurant courtesy of an unsuspecting (aka clueless) chump.

I've been using ZOOM for this purpose BEFORE Covid-19 restrictions and though I am still single, I have saved A LOT of money along the way.

On the other side of the coin, ZOOM is also good for females as it pre-empts a pointless date with some loser.

Maybe someday weddings can be conducted over ZOOM as well, allowing the bride and groom to get together only when they feel like it or to have children

If ZOOM existed twenty years ago, my parents woukd probably still be married.

Sometimes people need to take a break from one another and only the the pathetic lonely types need to constantly be together because they are making each other responsible for the other person's overall sense of happiness.

How depressing.

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