Sep 30, 2020 08:00 · 249 words · 2 minute read

How to make video calls almost as good as face-to-face

Ben Kuhn’s article about fixing video calls includes concrete tips and product recommendations. I thought that his points 2-4 were particularly relevant:

  1. ($10-30) If you ever have network issues, run a cable between your computer and router. You’ll probably need an adapter. (Contrary to popular belief that a bad connection is your ISP’s fault, it’s more likely to be flaky wifi.)
  2. (~$100) Buy open-back headphones, which let you hear your own voice normally and are extremely comfortable.
  3. (~$30) Switch from your built-in computer mic to a headset mic (and pop filter), which will sound much better and pick up less noise. Note this requires a headset with detachable cable, like the one I linked above. You can now leave yourself unmuted! If the other person also has headphones, you can also talk at the same time. Both of these will make your conversations flow better.

Overdispersion in COVID-19

Zeynep Tufecki’s article in The Atlantic makes the case that we’re not paying enough attention to how COVID-19 spreads.

Could we get back to a much more normal life by focusing on limiting the conditions for super-spreading events, aggressively engaging in cluster-busting, and deploying cheap, rapid mass tests—that is, once we get our case numbers down to low enough numbers to carry out such a strategy? (Many places with low community transmission could start immediately.) Once we look for and see the forest, it becomes easier to find our way out.

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