Technology

Today’s cache | Zoom’s response, backing up your documents, and more

File photo of a student taking online classes at home, with his companions, using the Zoom APP during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

File photo of a student taking online classes at home, with his companions, using the Zoom APP during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Today's cache is your daily download of the top 5 updates from the world of technology.

Zoom’s CEO Eric Yuan acknowledges gaps in the app’s privacy features, and shares what the company is doing to address those concerns. Facebook is trying to gain space in the video-chatting world with its new app that can be used in Mac and Windows.

And technology is aiding health professionals in handling the COVID-19 pandemic in two different ways. Pinterest’s CEO and his team have launched an app that allows users in the US to self-report their health data to fight the spread of COVID-19. In another effort, retired healthcare professionals are being trained using Virtual Reality to get up to speed on handling patients infected with the coronavirus.

Finally, use this weekend to digitise your paper documents.

Zoom’s CEO responds to privacy policy concerns

These past couple of weeks have been hard for Zoom as the videoconferencing app came under increasing scrutiny for unclear privacy policy and data leaks to Facebook.

Those issues haven’t kept users from flocking to the app as it reached over 200 million daily active users in March.

However, the company’s CEO Eric Yuan hasn’t taken the data and privacy concerns lightly. In a lengthy blog post on Wednesday, he apologised for falling short of expectations as the influx of users surged in the last few weeks.

“We recognize that we have fallen short of the community’s – and our own – privacy and security expectations,” he said. “For that, I am deeply sorry, and I want to share what we are doing about it.”

He clarified that Zoom was not designed with a foresight that every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying and socialising from home. It was primarily built for business customers, and those institutions have a robust IT support. And they have done a thorough review of Zoom’s security features before deploying the service.

The surge in users has helped Zoom identify unforeseen issues on its platform, he added.

The company has also shared its protective features in a blog post on how users can prevent zoombombing by using waiting rooms, muting controls and limiting screen sharing.

On March 27, Zoom removed its Facebook software development kit (SDK) in their iOS client. This removal helps stop Facebook from accessing data from Zoom users.

Two days later, the videoconferencing app maker updated its privacy policy to be clear and transparent on the data it collects and how it uses that information. In that update, the company said it has never sold user data, nor does it plan to sell in the future.

Facebook launches Messenger app for Mac and Windows

Facebook launched a new Messenger app for Mac and Windows desktop. The app allows users to video chat on their computers.

The launch comes as users are increasingly using videoconferencing applications to connect with friends and family during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Over the past month, we saw more than a 100% increase in people using their desktop browser for audio and video calling on Messenger,” Stan Chudnovsky, VP Messenger said in a statement.

The new desktop app will allow users to make unlimited free group video calls.

The app adds the users’ Facebook friends to Messenger, making it easy to make calls without inputting phone number or email address.

The application also syncs with the app in your mobile so you can switch between devices easily.

The new app also features Dark Mode to help you cut down the white light while chatting.

Pinterest partners with scientists to launch self-reporting app

Pinterest CEO Ben Silbermann and his team of researchers have joined hands with scientists from MIT, Harvard and many more institutions to develop and launch a free self-reporting COVID-19 tracking app.

The HowWeFeel app is available for download on the App Store and Play Store in the US.

After downloading the app, it takes 30 seconds to self-report how the user is feeling - - healthy or sick. This information helps scientists and doctors to use the data to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

You must input your age, gender, pin code and any health symptoms you are experiencing into the app. These details go into a database, which is shared with doctors, scientists and public health researchers who are working to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The data is securely shared only with organizations working to fight the spread of coronavirus. It is currently available to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Broad Institute of MIT, the University of Pennsylvania and Stanford University.

This data can help health professionals by providing insights into areas that haven’t yet shown significant spikes in COVID-19 testing -- these locations may be on the verge of an outbreak.

Pinterest is currently partnering with The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Training doctors with VR technology to fight COVID-19

A VR medical training system developed by Oxford Medical Simulation (OMS) is being offered for free to help hospitals and medical institutions handle the COVID-19 outbreak, TechRepublic reported.

OMS is making its VR training system available for free to health facilities in US, Canada and the UK to get retired doctors and nurses up to speed on patient care.

"At the moment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals are beginning to recruit more doctors and nurses, but they are also bringing doctors and nurses back into practice who have left previously" due to retirements or going into other fields, said Dr. Jack Pottle, a physician in acute and internal medicine and the chief medical officer for OMS.

In the last two weeks, about 50 hospitals and medical institutions have taken the free training offer. This translates to roughly 17,000 additional medical professionals signing up to assist in patient care.

OMS has been working with some 50 hospitals and medical schools to give virtual training since it launched the VR platform 18 months ago.

The VR based learning helps doctors and nurses gain knowledge and experience in treating COVID-19 affected patients.

The training system provides web-based, animated patient training scenarios through a VR headset for a fully-immersive experience. If the training is taken remotely, and the user does not have a head-gear, they can access the sessions via their laptop or desktop computer.

Digitise your documents this weekend

The COVID-19 outbreak is making us spend more time indoors. On a usual weekend, we might have planned to make a trip or visit friends and family. But, given the lockdown, that won’t happen.

Perhaps, you can use this weekend to de-clutter documents and organise them digitally. It's no coincidence that we celebrated the World BackUp Day this week on March 31.

Making digital copies of your personal documents can be a useful backup for future retrieval. These copies can be made using a scanner, if you have access to one.

If not, you can use a document scanner app in your smartphone. The first step in your digital backup activity is getting the documents organised.

Over the years, you might have saved various different certificates, records, letters and photos. Order them and categorise them. You may do this chronologically or theme-based (for example, personal vs professional).

Once this is done, find an app that will help you scan the documents.

Some of the apps that do a good job of scanning are CamScanner, Scanbot, Adobe Scan and Microsoft Lens. You can pick one of this to scan your documents.

After scanning, save them to your personal computer, or any of the cloud drives that you’re already using.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 7:58:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/todays-cache-zooms-response-backing-up-your-documents-and-more/article31250844.ece

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