Boom Times for Zoom


How the Platform Has Taken Off

Zoom has been preparing for this moment since the new coronavirus began spreading in China in January. But no amount of planning could have anticipated the company’s emergence as a cultural phenomenon. The New York Times explains Zoom's booming popularity, outstripping Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and Apple’s FaceTime.


Why We Don’t Use High-Tech Coronavirus Trackers


Governments around the world have turned to high-tech solutions like smartphone tracking to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Axios reports. In the U.S., however, a lack of testing supplies, the absence of nationwide strategies and policies, an individualistic culture, and concerns over civil liberties all stand in the way of adopting these techniques. 


The Untold History of the N95 Mask

The most important design object of our time was more than a century in the making, Fast Company reports. It all started in 1910 with a little-known doctor who wanted to save the world from one of the worst diseases ever known.


New York Appeals for a Tech SWAT Team


Among its efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic, New York is asking for help from the tech community, through an open call for contributions from individuals and organizations to help form its “COVID-19 Technology SWAT Team,” Tech Crunch reports.


Facebook's Coronavirus Challenge 


Skyrocketing traffic and a crush of new users are now stressing the social network's systems just as its 45,000 employees are dealing with working remotely for the first time, the New York Times reports.


Does Anonymizing Guarantee Anonymity?

As COVID-19 spreads, the U.S. government is in talks with tech companies including Google and Facebook about possibly using anonymized location data from Americans’ cellphones to track the spread of the coronavirus. But anonymization isn’t enough to guarantee privacy, The Markup reports. Decades of research shows that large data sets can often be deanonymized and used to reveal sensitive information about individual people.


SoundCloud Teams with Twitch to Help Musicians


SoundCloud is working with livestreaming platform Twitch to help musicians earn money as the COVID-19 pandemic prevents them from playing in live shows, Mobile Marketer reports. Separately, Spotify has launched a relief effort to aid musical artists, Reuters reports.


The Pandemic and the Digital Divide 

The internet has become a lifeline for many families during the global pandemic. But the digital divide leaves some of the most vulnerable Americans – a significant proportion of the 163 million who lack access to a reliable broadband internet connection – at a significant disadvantage, Gregory Porumbescu writes on The Conversation.


Which Wi-Fi Routers Are the Best?

Those who are new to working from home may find the need to simultaneously maintain devices including smart speakers, lighting, and security camera setups, plus now work-related systems and software. The backbone to manage many of these new requirements is a good router. ZDNet has created a list of top picks for Wi-Fi routers suitable for a range of budgets and needs.


The Popcorn Can Wait


Working from home and struggling to maintain a strong Wi-Fi signal? Try not using your microwave. The UK’s communications watchdog Ofcom offered this advice, noting that both WiFi and microwaves use the same 2.4 GHz frequency, The Telegraph reports.