The Extra Mighell - May 15, 2020

Technology and Assorted News, Among Other Things

Welcome to issue #6 of The Extra Mighell! A quick explanation for new readers - my last name is pronounced “Mile,” so hopefully the title makes more sense now.

The links here represent the stories of the past week that I found interesting or noteworthy but had no time to cover on the blog - that’s why they’re “extra.”

It was an oddly quiet week in tech this week, which is why there are fewer stories, and more fun stuff…

On to the news….

This Week in Working From Home

In what may be a sign of things to come, Twitter has told its employees that they can work from home forever, if they want. There’s no question this whole pandemic thing will result in some interesting changes to the workplace, whether in an office or at home. [CNBC]

With all the in-person conferences cancelled for the foreseeable future, organizations are looking for new ways to host engaging, interactive online versions of traditionally in-person events. One interesting option may lie in virtual reality. Spaces is one of a handful of tools that bridge the distance between virtual reality and Zoom, Skype, Hangouts, and other video services. A conference in virtual reality might be pretty good - but does that mean we all need to buy those expensive goggles?

Okay, this belongs below in Fun Stuff, but it IS what happens when everybody is inside and somebody leaves the gate open to the goat farm.

Security

If you’re one of the millions using Zoom at home right now, it’s time to update to Version 5. Like, right now. Go.

Following Apple and Google, Microsoft rolled out a new app this week called Family Safety, which is designed to manage kids’ screen time and app usage. [The Verge]

Social

Working for social media companies can be hard, especially when you are responsible for policing and taking down all of the offensive content posted to sites like Facebook and Twitter. It has gotten so bad that Facebook agreed to pay $52 million to their content moderators for PTSD suffered while on the job [The Verge]

Along the same lines, the volume of misleading and false information about COVID-19 on social media is truly staggering. Most of the social networks are working hard to clean it up - for example, Twitter is introducing new labels for tweets that contain misleading coronavirus information. [The Verge]

In better social news, video service Google Duo will soon support group calls with up to 32 people. Duo’s a great tool that’s available on all platforms, with great video quality - you should try it out! [Android Police]

New Apps/Tools

Reclaim.ai is described as “a smart friend for your calendar.” It uses artificial intelligence to find and block out time every day for you to get work or other things done. I’d love to try this, but it’s currently only available to those of you who use Gmail for your work email.

Here’s another tool for Google users - Mote is a Chrome extension that allows you to add voice notes, link previews, and emojis to comments in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.

Zoom awarded its “App Marketplace Whale Watch” award to Docket, which is described as a “meeting-focused workspace for collaborative agenda creation, decision documentation and action item tracking.”

Fun and Games

Do you ever wonder whether, when you click on a song to listen to it, someone else in the world just clicked on the same song at the same time? At Listening Together, you can find two people starting to play the same song on Spotify, at the exact same time (for example, as I’m typing this, someone in Scottsdale AZ and someone 7,814 miles away in Sydney, Australia are both listening to Green Day’s Good Riddance). It’s fascinating, I can’t stop listening.

Speaking of addicting, someone has created all 201 episodes of The Office in Slack. Head over to The Office Slack weekdays between 9-5 and check out live episodes.

Finally, my new favorite Zoom meeting, with Olive and Mabel:

See you next week!
— Tom