First Published July 1, 2020
[It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog post. After the cyclone Amphan, there was an aftermath that kept me super-busy till just now. I promised myself and my readers that I was going to share something with them, so here it is. Please feel free to read, share, comment, argue, object as you think fit. I have also carefully placed this in my Learning & Development Blog as it may not be just for laughs as the rest are.]
Zoom did it
They say (I’ve always wondered who ‘they’ could be) that a bad carpenter blames his tools. So, as schools rushed to ensure their fee-paying students continue to do so, a lot of action happened with “online teaching”. In the middle of this action was one hitherto relatively unknown video conferencing software called Zoom. Not the market leaders but definitely the ‘market openers’. It was available, user friendly, had an intuitive interface, and FREE. There’s no four-letter word that works better than FREE in our context. Everyone was talking Zoom. Zoom created new heights in video-conferencing or what was now locally called online teaching. Anyone with an internet connection and a browser, or decent smartphone could be a teacher — long available but seldom used terms like Distance Learning became as popular as Social Distancing.
And with the new heights came new depths. There were flaws and ‘security holes’ in the software. Everyone was jumping on the ‘ban-wagon’. The Chinese, for some inscrutable reason, were in the middle of this. They were allegedly stealing information and storing it on Chinese servers, in calligraphic characters, backwards at that! New terms like zoom bombing, mute all, spotlight view, passwords and waiting room became everyday parlance. Zoom’s name was tarred, feathered and otherwise blackened.