back to article Zoom adds email and calendar to its apps, to relieve the crushing burden of ALT-TAB

Zoom has decided to take on the software world's most dangerous mission: attempting to offer productivity tools that rival those bundled into Microsoft Office 365. The vidconf company's efforts involve an email and calendar client baked into its core app. This, the company claims, represents welcome relief from "Toggle Tax" – …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bataan Death March 3

    Zombie Apocalypse


    The Fast and the Furious.

    Afterwards you can stay for some movies.

  2. Mayday Silver badge

    You'd think they'd add security at some stage

    I've been able to dial into meetings of an old workplace for months because I've got the meeting URL with the "passcode" embedded in it.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: You'd think they'd add security at some stage

      That says more about your old workplace and their usage of the security features Zoom provides than it does about Zoom.

  3. Richard 12 Silver badge

    North America only

    Because timezones are hard.

    What's the bet they screw that up even for the continental US?

    Of course, they're being smart by launching it just after the USA daylight savings change. With luck, that gives them four months before it all falls apart.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: North America only

      Because timezones are hard

      Only for folks who don't work in time_t and apply the zone offset for display only.

      1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge

        Re: North America only

        I wholeheartedly agree, but sometimes figuring out what offset needs to be applied can be difficult.

        Of course on this side of the pond there are sometimes issues where you've forgotten to apply the offset and don't notice until the end of March because UTC and GMT are essentially the same (yes, I do know the intricate differences, but those have never had any impact on my code)

  4. Mike 137 Silver badge

    "Zoom needs a stronger proposition than a slightly less annoying video conference system"

    Until the recent update notification zoom was unique in being simple, functional, reasonably stable and accessible from almost any laptop of tolerable vintage. Now they're throwing all this away in a rush to catch up with the supposed competition at the expense of the user . This does not really make sense as zoom's position was unique, and its downsides can be painful. I'm scheduled to deliver a presentation via zoom in early December but zoom will quite possibly no longer work on my "legacy" but still functional laptop by then, so I'll have to buy a new one just to be able to present. I call that counterproductive.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Communicate Via China

    What could possibly go wrong with using a Chinese Communications system ?

    Expose your thoughts and inventions to China. They promise to treat you very fairly. Like they do with their own people...

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FOSS Conference Systems

    Protect your Intellectual Property, run you own conferencing system !

    I ran a Jami Server and it worked quite nicely. Basic Linux skills are sufficient. If you do not have them, hire a Linux man from your local Linux User Group.

    Also, rent a Linux server from a local cloud provider at something like $50 per month. Installation should be possible in one hour of work by a Linux Expert.

    If the number of users is small ( < 6) and your DSL line is moderately capable (100/10Mbit/s or better) then you can even use your own Linux server to host the conference server program.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: FOSS Conference Systems

      Then that Linux expert can make sure everyone has the correct client installed before the meeting.

      There's enough bother explaining how to unmute without throwing in another client installation.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: FOSS Conference Systems

        Indeed. I'm in a non-work related group comprising all age ranges, and some of the oldest members really struggle with the most basic tasks. One is also clueless on etiquette and has a camera in a low position pointing up his hairy nostrils. He also fidgets none stop and talks over everyone else.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: and your DSL line is moderately capable (100/10Mbit/s or better)

      ... That's low-tier fibre or cable territory across most of North America. Assuming that either is even theoretically available at all.

      In my region (Ottawa Valley), you might be lucky to get 1.5M (yes, one point five megabit) down and 128k-512k up if you're on the right (wrong?) street. >10M is iffy in many areas, and VDSL of any flavour is nearly impossible to get outside of a handful of specific streets.

  8. sebacoustic


    “Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.”

    Sherlock icon because there's no greybeard one

  9. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

    Lotus Notes

    Why, oh why did you have to conjure up such dreadful memories?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Lotus Notes

      Only because you didn't know "Ctrl + Break" would stop most freezing issues.

      I still prefer Lotus Notes if i am honest because for me the tabbed interface was for me (yes i was one of the 3 users using Opera with the presto Engine for the same reason)

  10. alain williams Silver badge

    Toggle tax gives privacy

    I like to use separate tools for separate jobs. If everything handles email ... which one do I use ?

    This is partly trying to keep the user always in their product ... but life is not like that, you are not always in conferences (unless very unlucky).

    It also gives zoom the ability to look through emails to profile the user to be further able to sell stuff.

    Use separate tools and reduce the privacy gouging that the tools can do. Use open source stuff: even better for privacy.

    Jacks of all trades is a master of none.

    1. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      Re: Toggle tax gives privacy

      I don't even see it as a tax. Alt-tab is always faster than moving a pointer and clicking.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Toggle tax gives privacy

        so you are clearly an advanced keyboard user: you are able to press more than one key at once: Alt + Tab. There are plenty who are unable to do that.

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Toggle tax gives privacy

      So either Zoom don't really understand object-linking or the Outlook API is rubbish.

      In Outlook I have installed the Zoom tools, so from the Outlook toolbar I can one click into Zoom.

      It shouldn't be that difficult for Zoom to implement similar tools in its toolbar, so when for example I click on the Calendar tool/icon in Zoom, it takes me straight to my Outlook (or whatever calendar application I've defaulted to).

      The problem Zoom have created is that now users will have two different email clients (one being much less functional) with access to their mailbox with different ways of achieving the same thing.

  11. petef

    Zoom Spots immediately led me to the shorter Zits.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Master of none

    Jesus Tapdancing Christ, will it ever be enough again for an application to just do a thing well instead of trying to do everything and being an enormous piece of shit? Teams is a dumpster fire and if Zoom decides to emulate it, the race to the bottom will just accelerate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's not a race to the botton per se

      It's a race to be Microsoft's next trillion dollar acquisition. Microsoft has created a toxic process for product design that is incapable of listening to actual user feedback or producing a sufficiently functional product on their own. Hence the keep buying things like Skype for way too much money.

      Teams has been worked over to the point you can no longer recognize most of it, so they need to buy a new Skype to "fix" the product they broke and it's going to either be Discord or Zoom. Not buying someone isn't an options, as that would not only be to admit defeat, but to admit to flushing billions of dollars down the crapper to buy Skype, and then wreck it by turning it into something nobody using the old products really asked for.

      So much like Symantec they need a blood sacrifice in the form of a more agile and vital company, which can handle the corrosive and toxic influence of their product managers and market research people for at least a couple of years. One they can bolt their bad ideas onto until the foundation starts to crack.

      The path is clear and well worn. Once you add email, you have to deal with the large population of biz users that can't conceive of email that isn't Exchange. So they will whine, bully, or bribe Zoom into adding exchange support. Once that is build the oven timer is set, and when it pops, Microsoft shows up and starts asking for due diligence. Or they sell to Google, who will just cancel it without notice after a few years, transfer the best devs to other projects and then fire everyone that is left.

      Facebook can't afford them anymore, and wouldn't give the time of day to a "legacy" 2d video system. If Zoom had added 3d support instead that might have gone the other way, but I think Zoom made the right call there.

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