Tag Archives: GeeksOnTour.com

187. What does a Zoom online meeting look like?

Everyone can view any episode for free. Just click on the play button above. Geeks on Tour premium members get detailed show notes below.

Note: Zoom is not one of our normal topics, but we do use it a lot and recognize that many more people are needing to use it now in the era of Coronavirus quarantines. That was our motivation for showing this topic, and also for that reason, we are making the show notes free for anyone. Stay healthy my friends.

Download .pdf (you’ll see a dropbox login, but you can just close it – no Dropbox account is needed)

0:00 Intro

Chris explains that this episode is a follow-up to Episode 186. In Episode 186 we taught the basics of Zoom meetings. Then, the next week we invited GeeksOnTour.com premium members to join us for a live meeting. This is a recording of that real Zoom meeting, warts and all. We include some of the time before the meeting where participants are gathering and getting comfortable. The screen being recorded is Chris’ screen, as if you were sitting in her place at the computer, so you see when she clicks on the controls.

1:47 Beginning of recorded meeting

Just some chit-chat while people get comfortable in the meeting. You’re looking at what’s called the “Gallery” view which shows everyone in their own cubicle. Notice the yellow outline around whoever is speaking. When participants first gather, they should always test their microphones and be sure they know how to mute and unmute. (more on that later)

4:22 Multiple screens of people

Showing how to view multiple screens of people when there are more participants than fit on one screen. There are blue arrows in the middle right and middle left side to scroll back and forth between multiple screens.

8:15 Start of meeting

9:00 Start Poll

Chris starts by using a feature of Zoom called “Polls.” She created a poll ahead of time and now presents it. Each particpant sees the Poll on their screen and can click on their choices and Submit. Chris’ screen sees the cumulative results of the poll. When she ends the poll, she has the option to show everyone the results.

Getting Help

The Zoom website has in-depth help. Just go to Zoom.us and click Support in the upper right – that will open up the Help Center.

14:18  Mute and Unmute

The first, and most important tool to master is Mute/Unmute. It works with both sound – microphone, and video – camera, but it is most important with sound. Especially in large meetings, people should remain muted unless they are speaking. In smaller meetings when everyone is in a quiet place, you can stay unmuted, making it easier to have a comfortable meeting. Whenever someone makes noise, Zoom assumes you are talking and highlights you as the speaker.

You can also turn off your camera. If you have a Zoom account, and you’ve uploaded a profile image, that image will be displayed when your camera is off. Otherwise, just your name will appear.

Audio and Video settings – You may have more than one microphone attached to your computer, you may also have more than one camera. You need to tell Zoom which one to use, and there are lots of adjustments that can be made as well.

18:10 Changing the name displayed on your cubicle

Move your mouse and you should see a 3-dot menu in the upper right of your cubicle, click that and then Rename. Enter whatever you want and  OK


There’s a chat button at the bottom that you can click to open up a right sidebar. You can send a message to everyone, or you can click on the down arrow and choose one person to send a private message. If you have a lot of participants, you should assign a person to pay attention to this chat. This way people’s messages won’t get ignored.


Participants is another button at the bottom that opens up a right sidebar panel. In that panel you can see all the people, you should also see buttons for “non-verbal feedback.” If the speaker asks a question like, “Do you have a Zoom account?” Everyone can answer Yes, or No by clicking that feedback button and a Yes or No icon will appear next to their name.

29:00 Gallery vs Speaker View

Each participant has control over whether they are seeing the entire group in “Gallery” view or just the person who is speaking, known as “Speaker” view. When in Speaker view the person speaking (making noise) will be taking up the main stage. That person will switch when someone else starts talking. The rest of the people will have “thumbnails” above the speaker. You can scroll thru those thumbnails by clicking the blue arrow at the right side, then scroll back with the blue arrow at the left side.

Chris calls the Gallery view, “Hollywood Squares” some others call it the Brady Bunch.

32:25 Browser version of Zoom is missing some basic controls like Gallery View.

38:39 Virtual Background

This feature of Zoom allows you to designate a virtual background even if you don’t have a green screen. If you want it to be even better, then you need to buy a green screen – it’s green fabric that you put behind you and the computer system is programmed to replace the green color with whatever graphic you choose.

You can have any graphic you want. Chris says that she has searched the web for backgrounds and found images she really likes. Make sure they are copyright free, download them to your computer, then you can use the + to add them to your choices for Virtual Backgrounds.

46:36 Share Screen

People often have a Powerpoint slide deck they want to present while they speak, or some computer screens that they need to demonstrate some procedures, or just a photo slide show etc. That’s what screen share is for. It is quite easy, the hard part is just knowing whether or not your audience is seeing it. Since you’re already seeing your screen, it’s hard to tell when you’ve been successful at sharing. It’s common to ask your audience, “Are you seeing my slide that says ….” Everybody needs a little reassurance!

Which screen to share? When you share a desktop screen, anything you put on that screen will be shared. When you share one single app or browser tab – that is the only thing that will be shared.

If you’re sharing a video, make sure that the option (in bottom left) for Share computer sound is checked.

54:22 How to learn more

Zoom.us – you don’t need to log in, you don’t even need an account. Click on Support in the upper right and you’re at their Help Center. Here is the Zoom.us video that we showed. Sharing your screen

Video on How to use the Polls feature

Internet by DROID

I have had my new Verizon phone for a couple of weeks now, and I like it.  You don’t need to be a Geek to want one.  If you are one of the many folks who want a phone just to make calls, the Droid is way overkill.  For a phone, it is expensive at $200 with a 2 year contract.  It’s cheap for a computer, though.

connected-droidDroid showing Sliding keyboard. Optional desk dock.

The Droid is essentially a computer that can also make phone calls.  It is connected to the Internet through the Verizon cellular data network or a local WiFi network.  You can browse the Internet, send and receive emails, stream or download videos/music and so much more.  Texting or entering data is easy using one of the three keyboards.  Some people I know could use the Droid and never need a conventional laptop or desktop computer.

The Verizon data plan for the Droid is unlimited.  There is no 5GB limit as with cellular data cards or tethering my old phone using VZaccess Manager.  How about using the Droid’s Internet connection to connect my computer like I used to do?  Well, I can.  I just need PdaNet software for the Droid from June Fabrics.

Tethering is the term we use to describe the hardware and software needed to connect a computer  to the Internet using the cellular data connection from a smart phone.  It is usually a USB connection, but could be wireless using Bluetooth DUN (dial-up network) or WiFi.  A wired connection to the computer is simplest and most reliable.

There are two parts of the system.  A program that runs on your computer and stays in the system tray and an app on the Droid.  Installation is easy.  Follow the easy instructions.  Download the installation program from the website and run it on your computer.    Plug the Droid into an available USB port.  Let the program talk to the phone for a moment to establish communication, and you are ready.

First, start the PdaNet app on the Droid phone and Enable USB Tether.  Then, on your computer, click the PdaNet icon in the system tray and connect.


This is a broadband connection and speed is determined by the cellular network.  In a good Verizon area, the speeds are excellent.  You can easily stream video and not worry about going over your monthly data limit.

The Droid is not the only smart phone that allows tethering.  PdaNet has been available for PalmOS phones, BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile phones for a while.

If you want to use PdaNet for the iPhone, you need to “jailbreak” it, voiding the warranty.

The price of a single license is $23.95. It is a one time purchase for the Android version. One license covers one phone (you can reuse the license if you switch to a new Android phone). There is no limit on the computer side and your license gives you unlimited free upgrades.

So far, there is no support for connecting to our Cradlepoint router, but I expect that fairly soon.

We’ll show you how to network the connection in a future post.