A fumbler’s guide to live online video chats and meetings

How are you doing with your Zoom / MS Teams / Facebook Lives / Facetime and various other incarnations of live video on the internet, especially now that there are very few – if any – ways to communicate with our clients / customers, colleagues, friends and family otherwise?

The Zoom meeting … our new normal?

A while back I wrote about, and asked my learned colleagues to share their advice on, how to perform on online video as you’ll find from this incredibly comprehensive guide here. And that was before the coronavirus stopped us talking F2F.

But today, as we cope with the most recent restraints … let’s take another look at how we are communicating now. Speaking as a prime techno-fumbler myself and a beginner at this talk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time online video lark, I sympathise with other beginners starting out … especially as so many friends and colleagues are becoming online TV superstars…

Some tips about live online video that I’ve discovered the hard way

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What to write when someone has lost their job due to coronavirus

One of the most popular articles here on HTWB for the last four years has been “What to write when someone has lost their job.” As you know, at the moment (May 2020) this has become even more of an issue due to social distancing, self-isolation and of course the closing down of many businesses.

Even a short email or private message on social media can help support someone who’s facing job/income loss due to coronavirus, but it’s a delicate path to travel. Here’s how to help, not hinder…

Some workers are lucky and have been furloughed, but others – especially in small businesses and the self-employed – are facing not one but two major dilemmas: one, loss of income, and two, no clear vision of how – and when – the job and business markeplaces will get back to normal … if they ever do. [Read more…]

Book writing courses for nonfiction: are they worth it?

I read a lot of books and scrutinise a lot of courses about how to write books. (Well, it’s my job.) You would be amazed at how complicated some of these make the process.

Some focus on formulæ more complex than a Google algorithm (and that’s going some) which they laughingly refer to as a system-based approach guaranteed to make your nonfiction book follow exactly the same cookie-cutter model as that of everyone else.Very few of these approaches champion originality and flexibility, because such formula-driven bullsh*t doesn’t have room for it. [Read more…]

Diary of a self-isolator: After Lockdown

Here’s a little verse or three to make us think about what happens next…enjoy.

I’m sick of being here on my own, sat on my fat posterior.

AFTER LOCKDOWN
Office workers’ quandary

I wish I weren’t so stuck at home
These walls are too familiar
I’m sick of being here on my own
Sat on my fat posterior.

[Read more…]

Diary of a self-isolator: WTF would we have done without the internet?

When I hear people bitch and moan about being under lockdown due to coronavirus/Covid19, I think back to my dim and distant youth when the internet was no more than a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.

Telephone landline handsets from the 1960s and 1970s – now museum pieces as you can see.

Earlier incarnations had been trialled but mostly had hissy fits and blew up once someone actually input a little bit of content. It was only when Tim Berners-Price took hold of it all in around 1990 that they managed to make it work. As we know, that revolutionised everything. And even better, it can’t catch COVID-19.

Imagine,” I say helpfully between their bitchings and moanings, “what lockdown would have been like if we didn’t have the WWW?[Read more…]

How have we become so selfish? An 18-year-old writes about coronavirus

by James Tierney

Please welcome James Tierney, 18, a highly talented young writer who hopes to make writing his career. His current projects include excellent fiction for children and young adults: this time, however, I asked him to share his nonfiction thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic from the point of view of a teenager in the UK. Over to James…Sz.

Now can you see the benefits of being tech-savvy, as we young people are?

At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It is like something you see in the movies.

Some sort of disease and no one is allowed to go out.

However, as the days have gone by the realisation has hit home. At first, they were saying it was only the elderly that were affected. As time has gone on, I have heard more cases of people around my age, or even younger, getting it and dying from it.

I think the worst of these was the 13-year-old boy who died from the coronavirus. [Read more…]

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