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A funny new tool to help you get out of never-ending video calls

Zoom meetings and video calls can be unnecessarily frustrating. Someone will inevitably forget to unmute themselves when talking, while another won’t remember to mute again after speaking. And that is if everyone invited even joins at the right time.

Video calls are meant to be short meetings to catch up on daily tasks or check up on progress. But many see it as the virtual equivalent of a full-blown boardroom meeting. It seems video calls are still a mystery to some users. Sick of Zoom calls? Tap or click for a new feature could make them fun again.

Getting to the point is crucial for a productive day’s work. If you have just about had enough of Susan mentioning “synergy,” John suggesting more “value-added propositions,” or someone asking for a “deep dive,” there is a quick way to escape. Take a look at this fun new tool.

Here’s how it works

When a Zoom call could have been an email, there is the aptly named Zoom Escaper, created by developer and artist Sam Lavigne. Using the small downloadable VB-Cable plugin, the idea behind the service is to make your presence unbearable to others.

“It allows you to self-sabotage your audio stream,” the website explains while giving you full instructions for setting it up. But how do you make yourself “unbearable?” Well, the web app works as an audio filter and changes the sounds that others hear.

First, you have to visit the website and download the small plugin. Then enable microphone access to Zoom Escaper and hit the start button. Once your Zoom meeting has started, you can play around with the settings.

Toggling several options for suppressed background noise, you can set it to low for faint sounds or switch it to medium for background pen taps or a noisy computer fan. If you need to go full-out, switch it to high and others will hear dogs barking or loud typing.

Other options include an upset baby, a man crying and the sounds of someone going to the bathroom. We’re not sure if the last one would actually help, but at least you have the option.

If nature calling isn’t for you, you could take a technological approach. Other sounds are more overt, like creating the dreaded echo when talking or making your voice choppy from a bad connection.

A word of caution, though: we’re not sure if the trick will work if someone calls you out to mute your microphone. It is also from a single developer, so use with caution – and don’t share your screen.

Keep reading

Barking dogs? Slamming doors? Remove background noise from your video calls with one click

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