back to article Keep it Together, Microsoft: New mode for vid-chat app Teams reminds everyone why Zoom rules the roost

In an attempt to regain market share from Zoom in the pandemic-driven world of video conferencing, Microsoft today launched a “Together” mode for its Teams software. The new mode puts everyone into a kind of virtual lecture room where they are sitting in specific seats, and each user feels as though they are both a lecturer …

  1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

    Just say No.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Unhappy

      How does one "emote in a natural way"? Does one artistically arrange a pile of faeces in the street and draw a smiley face on it?

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        I was wondering if this new mode makes use of the emote desktop protocol.

  2. Chris G Silver badge

    On seeing the 'Together' mode I thought it made the participants look like glove puppets.

    " Oooh Sooty what are you doin' 'ere?

    1. sorry, what?

      Not puppets...

      Muppets. You'd have to be one to use this..

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Re: Not puppets...

        "Muppets. You'd have to be one to use this.."

        Not Muppets, Fraggles.

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: Not puppets...

          Hey, don't insult the memory of the great Jim Henson by comparing his creations to these cretins!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    Yawn.

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: Really?

      Agreed. Wake me up when we can finally talk to hologram avatars of each other, Hollywood-style.

      1. Mr Dogshit

        Re: Really?

        Like this?

        https://www.commitstrip.com/en/2019/08/30/the-future-of-video-conferencing/?

  4. Lorribot

    There are reasons

    Zoom is used a lot because it is relatively easy to use, not perfect but works for most people. Teams is a pain in the arse to set up and use and does weird stuff that gets in teh way and forces itself on you by starting up everytime you boot up which just annoying.

    Zoom wins because it is less anoying. Not because it has good features. Perhaps Microsoft should focus on making its products less annoying to the majority of its customers, you would have thought it would have learnt that from Windows 8. Apparently not.

    1. cbars Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: There are reasons (and^and)

      And makes you log in constantly and 2 factor auth (this has improved lately - wonder why), and if you're working for client you need a private window to have 2 accounts logged in, and hogs your resources, and inexplicably split the audio through my mobile when I answered a video call using my laptop which I didn't realise was even possible let alone desirable, and intermittently drops audio, and has restrictions at the org level rather than team level so you cant talk to people you work with every day because they're "an outsider", and - worst of all - asks for a fucking rating on call quality after *every* fucking call!!!! Argh! Measure some sensible metrics without my involvment, what the fuck does 3 star mean, do you just want 5 stars? Here is a singe digit gesture, you can interpret that as you will

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: There are reasons (and^and)

        @cbars - you might find repeated single stars work better than single digits in getting the message across?

        1. cbars Silver badge

          Re: There are reasons (and^and)

          No! I don't want to engage; I didnt say there was anything wrong the the quality, my home internet connection is mint - thank you - point was that I want them to stop bothering me

          They'll know if its poor quality when I stop using it, isn't that what all the hoovering metrics in W10 are for?

    2. Chz

      Re: There are reasons

      No mention of how Teams, being based on Chromium, has an unquenchable thirst for RAM when performing only basic tasks?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There are reasons

        I worked hard to pay for the 64GB RAM in my system so I will do my darnest to prevent it from being used up.

    3. N2 Silver badge

      I would imagine

      Pretty well anything wins because it is less anoying.

      Microsoft do lead the field in one area: annoyances

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There are reasons

      And yet when I had to use Zoom it forced me to download a client app. It appeared that it was an option but every attempt to join a meeting without it forced me back down the same route.

      With Zoom's level of security (especially at the time) and how tech bros don't care about security until after the fact I really didn't want to have an app downloaded to use it.

      Teams also has a major issue with security, it is designed completely at odds with Microsoft's own secure application principles - it doesn't allow you to install it an run it fro 'program files' as a computer install.

      It has to be installed and run form userland (at least on windows). This means that your careful blocking of all software running from the user space will be broken and as it has to update regularly to that area as well then even whitelisting is a pain (it also uses three different directory areas).

      As well as the security issue it also means that on shared machines every user who logs in now has a full copy of the application on the PC (1Gb+). We've had Hard Disks fill to capacity due to this issue. The same application many times over - madness.

      Sure I know why they did this - they wanted everyone to be able to download and use it as they don't want no pesky IT department having a say over which applications they can use. Microsoft's new idea is to sell to the users and executive and cut the IT department out of the conversation in case they ask some awkward questions.

      Even Chrome which used the same tactic allowed you to install a version which ran from the correct place and therefore only one copy with decent .admx templates to manage it, if you so wished.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: There are reasons

        > Sure I know why they did this - they wanted everyone to be able to download and use it as they don't want no pesky IT department having a say over which applications they can use. Microsoft's new idea is to sell to the users and executive and cut the IT department out of the conversation in case they ask some awkward questions.

        A BOfH-style 'zoom.exe' dummy executable placed in a directory that appears early in %PATH% will soon get you back in control again.

      2. kz20fl2

        Re: There are reasons

        Teams has a machine level installer now, you need to use both the ALLUSER and ALLUSERS switches

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: There are reasons

          Pretty sure that installer is the one that just auto installs the normal teams software for every user in userland as they log in for the first time unless they have changed it very recently and had a massive change of heart.

    5. Not Enough Coffee

      Re: There are reasons

      [All Microsoft software] is a pain in the arse to set up and use and does weird stuff that gets in teh way and forces itself on you by starting up everytime you boot up which just annoying.

    6. Sir Loin Of Beef

      Re: There are reasons

      Also, you can only see nine people on the screen. You have to scroll to see everyone else.

  5. Joseph Haig

    ???

    What new hell is this?

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: ???

      It's just a 'team' wallpaper/backdrop.

      So instead of individual's choosing their own backdrop for their stream (as available in Zoom), the recipient can select their own common backdrop for all streams in a call. Although it isn't clear whether each participant can set their own "Together" wallpaper or if it is imposed on all recipients on a call by the 'Teams' meeting convener.

      Naturally, this begs the question as to where the video stream image manipulation processing is going on.

      Given the video, I suspect it starts to fall apart if things get a little too dynamic, ie. people aren't behaving like 'perfect' talking heads.

      1. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: ???

        Oh wow, I just actually watched the video. I was not expecting that. I think it's probably worth trying it out if only to see some hilarious glitches on the level of what Red Dead Redemption could put out back in the day.

      2. logicalextreme Bronze badge

        Re: ???

        I especially like the regular crescendo of the voices on the music at the end of the video, which to me ended up sounding like screams of terror at what Teams was now doing.

  6. cornetman Silver badge
    Stop

    A couple of points:

    1) Biggest issue for me with Teams is the lack of native support for Linux.

    Zoom just works for me on EVERY platform that I use.

    2) So in a lot of the commentary extracted in the article, I see things like "..you're not allowed to..." or "..you must..".

    Tell you what Microsoft, go f*ck yourselves. I'll do what *I* want thank you very much.

    If that means briefly nipping out of view to let the cat out, or switching off my camera to pick my nose, then I will.

    1. gobaskof

      Teams does have a Linux app. Work has gone almost entirely MS teams now so I have the app. On the surface it works. But over time the CPU just ramps up and up and up until it is maxed out. The more active teams is the faster it ramps up. The also keep adding features to the Windows version that are not in the Linux version. The most annoying part of that is all the garden variety smug bastards making sarcastic comments about how you should swap operating system, because monopolistic behaviour is to be rewarded.

      Teams also seems to be totally unaware that people collaborate in teams that are outside their host institution. Probably because MS hate working with others.

      The worst thing about teams is that there are about 5 ways to join a meeting. From a team, from calling someone, from a link, from the calendar in teams, from a chat. This means the start of every meeting you have to find which subset of ways to joining the meeting will work.

      Jit.si works fine until there are 15 or so people on the call. Then I swallow my pride and use Zoom.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        I didn't know about the Linux client. That must surely be fairly recent.

        Here, we regularly have video conferences with people outside our organisation.

        TBH, I would have thought that was the most common use case for a lot of companies moving away from Webex (which we are).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, there's a (Beta) Linux client.

        It is rather hungry for memory and CPU, and after running for a while it usually ends up eating the entirity of one core until it is restarted.

        Also it doesn't support custom backgrounds, or remote control of desktop, or having more than 4 pictures on screen at once.

        Zoom is much, much better, in speed, features, speed and easy of use. Naturally, TPTB have decided we should ditch zoom and use teams, because teams comes free with the office365 that they foisted onto us.

        1. Zimmer
          Stop

          Beta client?

          Sorry to have to contradict your comments re:Linux but I downloaded the Linux client for Mint 18.3 many weeks ago to participate in a weekly church meeting.

          It's running on an old HP core i3 laptop with 4gig ram, no fancy graphics. Not noticed the CPU ramping up (never looked, but the fan on this old lappie usually gives you an audio clue).

          There have been up to 18 participants for the hour long meeting, I have seen them all on my screen in the 'grid' view.(Perhaps you have overlooked the icon to change the view from a slideshow of 4participants along the top and one large for the current speaker

          As for custom backgrounds; supported, tried it , but needed to have myself in front of a green or blue screen. The background effect could be seen but as a translucent underlay/overlay against the background of our conservatory windows. Like the weathermen on the telly you need a green/blue screen to pull off the full effect so I've not experimented further.

          If it's a Beta client, it's been working fine for me since the beginning of May. Version 5.0.413237.0524..no mention of 'Beta'

          and it's now asking me to update to a newer version.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Beta client?

            I think it was a reference to a beta client for Teams, not Zoom?

        2. JohnKelly

          And that is why teams will probably win, because it has no extra cost to it. In the end we are run by accountants.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        The Teams client is an Electron thingy and, therefore, not native. You need a native client for decent codec performance, despite the progress with WebRTC.

      4. dellgreen

        Isn't this just an Electron app?

        And yes your correct it sucks for me to, CPU's maxed out,laptop fans blowing so loud to compensate which ruins the audio for everyone

        1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Turn off your camera and incoming video.

  7. Steve Foster
    Trollface

    Keep my Camera on?

    What camera?

    1. The_Idiot

      Re: Keep my Camera on?

      ... and even with work issued 'must have a camera' devices, the joys of electrical tape are hard for Redmond or anyone else to fight... :-). So yay for strips of adhesive backed rubber!

      1. mmccul

        Re: Keep my Camera on?

        Have regular meetings with people in different orgs. The security team members never turn on their cameras. The PMs usually do, until they realize that the security team people on the call won't be silently shamed into turning their camera on, and then the cameras turn off (and performance improves dramatically).

        Why would I want to see people who haven't had access to a barber in at least three months and are working from a less than ideal location? I want to hear them and see the app they are sharing with the team, not an image of their face.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Keep my Camera on?

          Does seem to have become an obsession for some - even groups that have quite happily done audio conferencing for years.

          Lots of broken / faulty / not working today cameras. And they do crush the bandwidth.

    2. FatGerman

      Re: Keep my Camera on?

      Even when I do have a camera, I also have Gaffer tape.

    3. Adelio

      Re: Keep my Camera on?

      Here here, I have been using teams with a client for about 2 years and noone EVER has a camer in use.

      Why the hell would i?

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Stop

    MS' version of a Clockwork Orange

    Full screen, main screen, look ahead, webcam on, no leaving the meeting, Electron-driven hellscape which hammers the CPU so there's no multitasking either. Perhaps MS will also supply you with specula and chair straps just in case you're tempted to work through your hour-long Teams meeting purgatory.

    1. Kane Silver badge

      Re: MS' version of a Clockwork Orange

      Viddy well, little brother. Viddy well.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Audio rules ...

    ... I don't want to see my colleagues (a static picture or logo is fine, with an indication of who's talking) and they don't want to see me. The most important think about video is probably eye contact and, urless you have an autocue arrangement, having a video call is like talking to someone studiously avoiding it.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Audio rules ...

      Seen this discussed this recently. Video seems popular for introductions so that people "know what the other people" look that. But after that it's just a distraction.

      1. mmccul

        Re: Audio rules ...

        This may sound odd, but I don't want to know what they look like. Not knowing a person's appearance can reduce the risk of accidental unprofessional preconceptions. I don't even post a photo of myself on Teams or similar tools, just an avatar that does not show in any way what I look like. The only time a client objected, I removed all avatars and left it with just the default initials logo.

    2. logicalextreme Bronze badge

      Re: Audio rules ...

      Yeah. Aside from anything else, I can multitask if I'm not sat staring at a video (and video quality was invariably poor on any platform, even on business connections, let alone a multitude of home broadband connections). Being able to multitask is especially important in any call with several people, because some stuff you don't need to listen to and some people have a tendency to waffle on. Teams stays minimised for me.

  10. Sam Adams the Dog

    Skeumorphism gone crazy!

    The one good idea is assigned places. Everything else sounds really awful. I don't know if the leader can assign places, though, which would be useful, especially if we want to go "around the room" making comments or brief presentations. And all that wasted space in the corny elementary-school auditorium mockup. And if I want to turn off the camera, it's usually because I'm still in my underwear. Oh well; black electrician's tape might still work. (Well, not for underwear, but you know what I mean....)

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Skeumorphism gone crazy!

      An amusing 'observation' here - well I laughed...

      https://www.theguardian.com/society/picture/2020/jul/07/clare-in-the-community-as-lockdown-unravels-

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Skeumorphism gone crazy!

      > Skeumorphism gone crazy!

      Wait till they release the "Modern" version, where everyone is a solid color flat square on a solid color background...

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "keep track of what other people are signaling or emoting in a natural way"

    I'm sorry, how exactly does Borkzilla's product enhance user emoting in any way ? The camera shows the user, just like any other remote-conferencing tool.

    Reading this blurb I felt like I was once again listening to some Magic Leap bullshit. Borkzilla just can't keep itself from wanting to authenticate everyone. Outside of BorkLand, nothing exists.

    And together ? Everyone else is just looking at you apparently. That's not what I call together. Together is a group sitting around a table. But of course, a stupid remote-conferencing tool can't replicate that, no matter how much Magic Leap bullshit you append to its description.

    Well, Zoom might have some merit, but I can vouch for Cisco Webex Meetings. It's simple, it's fast and it bloody works without a Borkzilla profile.

    Suits me perfectly.

    1. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: "keep track of what other people are signaling or emoting in a natural way"

      We've had nothing but bother with Webex TBH. The tech seems like it's from another century, which I kinda guess it is really.

      Your mileage may vary etc etc

    2. drexciya

      Re: "keep track of what other people are signaling or emoting in a natural way"

      I've been using both WebEx (there seem to different versions - free versus a paid version) as well as Teams (the basic version, not the educational one) for delivering training. I prefer WebEx, since it has all the functionality, and even some very basic things, like having both participants and chat open simultaneously (very important for class control), are still absent from Teams. WebEx is a bit clunky, and isn't as polished as the other offerings, but it just works and that's what counts.

      And now that people have noted the resource hog behavior of Teams, I checked WebEx. And it uses a very limited amount of resources, even now the session is running for almost 5 hours.

  12. JDPower

    How was this not laughed out the room the minute anyone at Microsoft saw it in action? It's almost April fool's level ridiculous.

    1. David Woodhead
      Unhappy

      Because ...

      Because that would be seen as being negative. And you really don't want to be seen as being Negative in Seattle.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    As if everybody aligns the camera perfectly

    I expect to see a lot of bobbing heads in chairs and people showing up at totally different sizes. Then pranks of "touching" the person sitting next to you will commence.

  14. osakajin Bronze badge

    The video quality is so poor in teams that the best emotional reading I can get are the same as when I played Little Computer People in the 80s.

  15. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Together

    This is to remind participants that they should not sit in front of the camera in the altogether.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS account? Authentication?

    My wife joined a lecture that was held in Teams. As she didn't have Teams installed, she opened the link in Edge. Just had to type her name in. No Microsoft account (local account on Windows too), if there was any authentication we didn't notice (and nothing to authenticate anyway). Quite painless really, apart from the usual problem of people who don't turn their cameras and mics off when others are speaking, which is surely not specific to your chat client.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: MS account? Authentication?

      It's almost as if they're finally learning from other clients, at least if you access via web browser. Or maybe not, Teams still hasn't got push-to-talk (hold space to unmute). Perhaps the background noise brings people together, or somesuch nonsense.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: MS account? Authentication?

        Yeah, those damned Americans, always copying from the Chinese ;-)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS account? Authentication?

      Try using it from a different browser (e.g. Firefox) and say that. Teams just fails completely while every other video chat service I've used to date (Jitsi, Zoom, Hangouts, etc) is quite happy.

  17. keithpeter
    Windows

    Research project...

    "[snip] they are removed by the fact that what should be an instinctual experience comes with a set of rules defined by Microsoft"

    I've paid the bills for decades by organising small groups of people for face to face interaction at regular times of the day/week for extended periods (teaching). I think that there is a lot in the psychology mentioned by Lanier that is valid.

    BUT as OA says this is really still looks like a research project to me.

    The key is the 'set of rules' which are usually negotiated (tacitly) between participants early in the lifetime of a group within institutional norms (c.f Goffman and Tuckman) so it feels 'normal'. Trying to force those on people is just going to seem weird to the participants.

    I also was amused by the use of a psychology excuse for a technical issue: if you pop to the loo part way through a face to face lesson, it is very unlikely (to the extent that I can't remember an instance in 30 years) that anyone will hop into your seat while you are out of the room.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Research project...

      >The key is the 'set of rules' which are usually negotiated (tacitly) between participants early in the lifetime of a group within institutional norms...

      I remember a two-part course where on the first day people sat wherever they wanted in the room, the tutor took a picture, the tutor took similar picture on each of the following days...

      Three months later we had the second part, exactly the same setup, tutor took pictures, on the last day the tutor got the group to compare the sequence - it was only maverick's such as myself and those that we had obviously displaced that had changed seats...

  18. Maximum Delfango
    Facepalm

    Teams...

    ...is utter shit and this new stupid bolt-on from Microsoft’s department of crapness if won’t make it any less shit.

    I hate Teams - it’s clunky, slow, bloated, buggy, ugly and takes more memory that anything else on my work PC. Microsoft should be ashamed of this piece of badly written excrement. And those stupid cartoon people all over the UI? Jesus, when did software become so damn patronising?

    And to think I believed Sharepoint was the nadir for Microsoft. I was so naive.

    1. KarMann Bronze badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Teams...

      And those stupid cartoon people all over the UI? Jesus, when did software become so damn patronising?
      Clippy? Bob? It's been a while since, certainly.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Teams...

      Teams is Sharepoint++: all the document stuff is 1:1 sharepoint (in the guise of OneNote).

  19. steviebuk Silver badge

    Annoys me

    Why can't they just be fucking honest.

    1. They are clearly moderating their video as only praise comments are being allowed. I put constructive criticism which hasn't appeared.

    2. Zoom, although I don't like it, is popular cause its easy and just works.

    3. Their video is MASSIVELY misleading. They are all using the same camera, all in the same location and no doubt have greenscreens setup. This allows them to cleanly cut the user out to put them in the fake background. In reality this won't happen. It won't cleanly cut out the user so they'll blend into the background and be missing limps or heads. For most, it will probably work but you'll have to keep still to stop yourself or body parts blending into the background. We know this is so because it already happens in Teams and their fake backgrounds. I use those, they work OK but, move slightly and my arm is removed. Its clear the software now believes my arm is part of the real background so removes it. The gap between my headphones when on my head, reveals the real background.

    4. Teams needs work before this. Images and emojiis constantly disappear or fail to load forcing you to restart it.

    I think its a pointless idea that won't work as well as claimed in the video. Everyone hates bullshit marketing and even more bullshit moderation of a video so only praise comments appear.

    1. Pete B
      Joke

      Re: Annoys me

      "It won't cleanly cut out the user so they'll blend into the background and be missing limps or heads."

      I've got a limp I wouldn't mind going missing - didn't realise that Teams had that feature - must try it :)

    2. steviebuk Silver badge

      Re: Annoys me

      They appear to now be posting all comments on the YouTube video.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Annoys me

        Who, MS' marketing department?

    3. Mark192 Bronze badge

      Re: Annoys me

      Stevie UK exclaimed"

      "misleading [...] pointless [...] bullshit."

      Say what you mean, Steve!

    4. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: Annoys me

      And why the hell this obsession with backgrounds? You get bits of heads floating round, fuzzy bits when someone moves and then a screen with a rainstorm or jelly running down it.

      And my personal annoyance with Teams: why, when you receive a call is the most obvious button the "End" call? At least make one read & one green, but no, you have to peer are the screen amongst all the blue shite with grey lines to find the correct bit to click on.

  20. John Robson Silver badge

    Glances... Are no good

    Even if the grids were consistent between participants...

    Because the camera isn't in the middle of the grid. You really need four monitors, with a webcam in the centre to make this even remotely feasible.

    Since my camera is on my laptop I can be up to 90 degrees off axis when looking at people on a conference (which I do to lip read). The "currently talking screen" tends to jump about when people pause for breath and the laptop screen is too small to deal with the "grid of boxes" view at lipread-able scale.

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Glances... Are no good

      I'm going to wear these.

      [Icon: someone looking down at the screen, not the camera]

  21. IGotOut Silver badge

    Translation

    We want to make meetings out of the office as dull and pointless as meetings in the office

  22. fronty

    Nah, fuck'dat!

  23. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Cute

    Cute idea, but please can they do it properly.

    If I'm in the audience for a speaker, I want to see the view from my seat - people to left and right, back of peoples heads in front of me. If we're round a table, that's the view I want to see.

    Anyone for full 3D VR? Then we can meet on a beach in the Maldives

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge
      Pirate

      Use Red Dead Redemption

      or Dungeon Defenders

      Most 3rd person multiplayer games have long sorted this kind of thing out.

    2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

      Re: Cute

      > Anyone for full 3D VR? Then we can meet on a beach in the Maldives

      Don't know about the Maldives, but this offer from Barbados looks good.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/barbados-remote-working-year-long-stay-tourism-caribbean-a9609766.html

  24. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Pint

    Well said, Kieran

    If that sounds like a load of old bollocks, it’s because it is.

    For video-conferencing there is so much about Teams not to like. Microsoft is shoe-horning into corporates on the back of Exchange but for everyone else, virtually every other program, including Microsoft's own Skype, is preferable.

  25. Unicornpiss Silver badge
    Meh

    Assigned seats and misc..

    I don't think you should try to apply conventional structure like you had in grade school to VR. Assigned seating in a virtual meeting is like arriving in the afterlife and discovering they still have parking meters. What's wrong with the existing paradigm of changing focus depending on who's speaking? And requiring the camera to be on? Really? A piece of tape will fix that, like I've seen on every laptop ever that doesn't already have a shutter you can close. MS really needs to function on the core functionality and stability, and simplifying the UI for the whole Teams control panel would be nice. At least it's a vast improvement over Skype for Business' stability.

    You can put lipstick on a pig, but it still oinks and wallows in the mud.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Assigned seats and misc..

      >And requiring the camera to be on?

      Suspect that is due to the limitation of the software, it allows it to better determine what is background ie. static. So expect people to play statues to see whether they can disappear...

      1. The commentard formerly known as Mister_C
        Happy

        Re: Assigned seats and misc..

        "So expect people to play statues to see whether they can disappear..."

        How about just changing the amount you smile to see if you can do a Chesire Cat...

        You, sir, have just invented the replacement for the old meeting favourite of buzzword bingo.

  26. Simon Beckett

    Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

    It's a collaboration and integration tool, video calls seem like they were almost an afterthought which they may very well have been. Used wisely and set up properly Teams is a good product, just not necessarily easy to use in every environment. As with all things, more features adds more complexity, ease of use carries compromises on the user experience and the security of the product. Take "keyless" cars - much easier than hunting around for your keys, but also a lot easier for some herbert to drive off with it.

    I agree that it's fiddly, that comes from trying to be all things to all people. Want to run a webinar? You do that this way. Want to have a one to one as a result of something in an email? You do it a different way. The reason there are multiple ways to start a video call is because that's what people asked for... in the early versions there was only one way to set up a call, which was to go into the calendar and schedule a meeting. That's stupid if you want to hold a meeting straight away, but consistent with the other tools in the Office 365 suite and that's the whole point.

    Anyone complaining about having to use MFA to access a cloud based product that can be used to share corporate data? In the words of our friends from the millennial class, "Just, wow".

    Full disclosure - we are a MS Partner so we have way more exposure to the MS stuff than we do anything else. So I might just be missing something.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

      >So I might just be missing something.

      You are!

      At one time I worked for a MS Gold partner and those in the MS tech support team were in so deep they didn't really have capacity/time to play with other products, so just didn't understand my issues with using Windows without third-party utilities on laptops for doing £work on multiple sites in different organisations (this was 1998~2007 and things aren't really any better today in W10) - their idea of mobile working was to rock up and connect their laptop to the OHP, spout a load of techno-marketing speel and leave.

      Saw the same with Cisco kit (going back a long way here), to really get on top of it you need to be dedicated, so having mastered the command-line etc. it is easy to miss the fact that the competition have implemented a better management interface...

    2. FatGerman

      Re: Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

      I bloody hate having to use Office for anything, but Teams is the only MS product I'm happy to use. As set up by our corporate IT dept it allows me to keep in touch with all my co-workers either by IM or video call with just a couple of clicks. Yes the video and audio quality aren't great but I'll forgive it that. We use Zoom too but I wouldn't know where to begin with setting up a Zoom meeting. Teams has made it possible for me to be just as productive and collaborative at home as I am in the office.

      Let the downvotes and accusations of being a shill commence.....

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

        No downvoting here, everyone is allowed their own opinion.

        I actually like Office, always have. Teams is OK but a bit fucking annoying.

    3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Teams isn't just a video conferencing tool...

      > Anyone complaining about having to use MFA to access a cloud based product that can be used to share corporate data?

      I had to create a Teams account to join a call with a large ISP. Not knowing what I was letting myself in for, I selected "business" rather than "personal" when it asked what I was using Teams for.

      The result, amongst other things, is them telling me I had 14 days to set up 2FA or they lock the account out.

      An account with no access to anything, with the only 2FA they'd accept either involving me handing them a phone number and trusting them not to lose it, or installing their authenticator app (I don't use O365, so have no other use for it)

      Sorry, but it's complete bollocks. I'm all in favour of 2FA, but if they want to take a principled stand maybe they can support some actual best practices? I've got yubikeys, U2F dongles and a TOTP app in my toolkit.

      And before anyone points out you can convince their 2FA to use TOTP, maybe they should put that on the setup page rather than "ooooo install our app"?

      I loathe Zoom, but it's like MS are deliberately trying to cripple Teams

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jaron Lanier?.. enough said..

    He has been spouting pseudo-intellectual bollocks about VR since the early 1990's. And like all pseudo-intellectual bollocks its, well, total bollocks.

    A complete and total fraud. I was wondering where he had ended up. A born tech grifter.

  28. JeffB
    Headmaster

    Zoom banned...

    I work in education, so we are already tied in to Microsoft's environment through their free Office 365 offering, including Teams. We have also banned the use of Zoom, and will not support it, until such time as they sort their privacy and security issues out...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Zoom banned...

      Interesting, my daughter's school is also wedded to Team's, however, now after nearly 4 months her tutors are voting with their feet and are increasingly using Zoom for the ad-hoc tutor group stuff.

      Also, they don't use Teams for consultations with Parents.

      Not had any privacy issues with Zoom myself, but then we've set up people's profiles to always use the waiting room functionality.

      1. steviebuk Silver badge

        Re: Zoom banned...

        One of the issues with Zoom is if you are using the free version, there is no end to end encryption. Its only included in the paid for version.

  29. Potemkine! Silver badge

    The number of meetings that could be replaced by well written emails and online forms is astonishing. I guess people love to procrastinate together.

  30. Efer Brick

    Nevermind shy

    Bandwidth and CPU overload = 0 camera

  31. xyz

    Why doesn't MS...

    Just buy zoom. That's their usual method of killing something off.

  32. tiggity Silver badge

    Energy

    Together mode supports presenters who need to ‘read the room’ or get energy from attendees.”

    get energy from attendees - was it designed by Colin Robinson?

  33. Big_Boomer Silver badge

    Blu Tack

    No more camera but easily removable if you do want to use the Webcam.

    Some of the meetings I get invited to "require" the camera to be on, so I just don't attend those.

    Those that I need to attend I use the Blu Tack and if anyone comments "Oh it's been playing up for a while" :-)

    1. David Nash
      FAIL

      Re: Blu Tack

      My camera doesn't need the Blu-Tack, Teams just stopped recognising it overnight.

  34. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Teams

    Teams is just another turd from the Rejects of Redmond. Awkward to use, difficult to manage multiple chats, screen sharing can be frustrating for the presenter if you need to show multiple screens during the session, and list of idiocies continues. It would take much for something to be easier to use, setup than Turds.

  35. MJI Silver badge

    Teams on phone

    Well this is horrid.

    Getting used at work and I have found the following problems

    Audio calls

    1) Cannot use like a phone, ear keeps pressing things.

    2) Answer button often tries to hide when you want to use it.

    3) IP Phone and real phone still ring.

    And very difficult to muliple use eg see text on PC and sound via phone.

    i HATE it!

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Teams on phone

      4) Watch it get into a pickle if you disable microphone and camera permissions and receive an incoming Teams call. Requesting the permissions without getting confused would be too useful.

  36. BossHobo

    The promotional video looks like you'll fit right in as long as you're 25 years old and could moonlight as "the attractive one that gets killed" in a B-movie. No, thank you.

    For most Teams "meetings" I have attended, only the presenter and the hapless have their cameras on. One person who couldn't figure out the settings had their camera trained on a half-eaten bag of snacks most of the meeting. It was more disheartening than amusing. I kindly suggested they switch their camera off as it became a bit of a distraction.

  37. Sil

    Lots of negativity here.

    People could actually like it, let's wait and see.

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Teams ? renamed bodge of Skype for Business

    With no Microsoft operating system or MS office, just pared down Linux distro, I find Jitsi Meet OK, (except for video bandwidth calls to PR China) and also Zoom to communicate with an organisation that uses Zoom. Zoom is user friendlier, but free version ties limit of time. Jitsi allows long calls, important for technical meetings.

    Last used Skype for business some years ago and found the participants (Japan, China, UK) went home and used 'consumer Skype 'on own laptops to get better quality. Sounds like "Teams" is a renamed Skype for business with all its problems.

  39. Sub 20 Pilot

    Usual MS behaviour.

    Microsoft are the spoilt child at their own birthday party who have a ton of chocolate ice cream on their plate but whine because someone else has a cake and they should have that too.

    If they did one thing properly, say for example produced an OS that was not an utter pile of shite ( W10 ) and spent their efforts on making it workable, stable, secure and usable without the constant fucking about with needless updates without dealing with the core problems, then I would be happy.

    Instead they have to interfere in everything and produce a third rate alternative then try to foist it on everyone, even to the extent of buying the competitor and killing it ( can't be long before they do it to Zoom ?) I used Skype quite a bit before they bollocksed it up. Never used it since.

    I am happy to pay a subscription for an OS as I need it to make a living. This is something which they can not achieve, sending out pointless crap under the guise of value for money. Anyone using their OS for work, which is what I have to do, is stuck with this endless load of crap.

    NOTE: I don't need any smug Linux users telling me that I should use their favoured OS at this point as it will not run AutoCAD or any of the windows only structural analysis, BREEAM or heat loss modelling software amongst other things that I need to run. Believe me I have tried over the years to do this in various emulators etc but to no avail.

    I have used Zoom for meetings since the lockdown and do so on a 5 year old Android phone, a newish Android tablet, a laptop running W10 and a PC running W7. I have not had a single problem in all that time with it. I had one meeting whereI was present in the same room as a colleague who was using Teams on his laptop. It was the most turgid, stuttery, problem ridden bunch of arse I have seen in years, it could well have been running on a 20 year old virus ridden plodding donkey of a pc and not a high spec W10 laptop.

    I have been hoping for a resolution to MS' dominance of the pc scene in terms of what I need it to do for decades and looks like I will have retired before it improves. At least then I can be rid of the fucking pestilence and just use Android and Linux. Roll on that day.

  40. Terry 6 Silver badge

    This is the usual...

    Microsoft missing the boat and then splashing around in the shallows.

    They've been doing it since they failed to spot the internet might become useful.

    Even when the product is good they are always too bleeding late with it.

    ( I miss my Windows Phone - but they were far too late to get a grip on that market even with the advantage of a familiar look and name, and outside El Reg commentards that does count for something).

  41. briesmith

    How did we get things so wrong?

    When I pick my phone up - fixed or mobile - nobody and nothing asks me for a password. I simply have access to the network and it's up to whoever I've called to operate security etc. This applies to point to point and conference calls.

    That's how Teams, Zoom, Meet Google and all the rest should work. They are all massively over-engineered with user-unfriendly workflows (with the possible exception of Meet Google which is only handicapped by its pretend insistence on participants having a gmail account when it doesn't actually need one to let you in.)

    As long as nobody can join a video call without the rest of the callers knowing, the phone call model works well and has done for 100 years now.

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