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As a result of the stay-athome order and social-distancing rules that help us limit the spread of COVID-19, many people have turned to video phone calls and virtual meetings to connect with family and friends. A number of Rossmoor organizations, committees and clubs have started holding virtual meetings using the Zoom application.

Connecting with video phone calls

If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may already be familiar with making video phone calls to family and friends. You can use FaceTime on Apple devices to connect to other Apple mobile devices and Mac computers. Google Hangouts and Skype can connect to both Android and Apple mobile devices, as well as PC and Mac computers.

Using Zoom

Zoom Meetings provides a free “basic” version of its software that is easy to use for one-on-one video calls or for virtual meetings that include up to 100 participants.

You can see a group of people and manage their images in a gallery arrayed on your screen. It is currently the leading choice for virtual meetings for small businesses, as well as clubs and social organizations with little or no budget.

A “participant” in a Zoom meeting is a person invited to a meeting that has been scheduled by someone with a “host license.” Participants do not need a Zoom account and can join a meeting for free from their phone, desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet.

On a PC or Mac computer, or a mobile device with an installed Zoom app – just click on the meeting link if you have an invitation from the host. Otherwise, go to the Zoom website ( or mobile app to join a meeting by entering the meeting ID and password from a published meeting notice.

The “host” of a Zoom meeting is a person with a Zoom account who schedules, sends invitations and controls the meeting options and participant actions during the meeting. To be a host, you must install the app on your device or access the Zoom website and sign in to create an account.

You can learn all about how to use Zoom on computers and mobile devices on Zoom’s support website on their Getting Started page ( zm-Getting-Started).

Costs for basic and large Zoom meetings

There are a number of host license plans with different features and pricing described on the Zoom webpage that you may want to explore to use for your social club or group.

Most people will find the basic plan is sufficient – it is free and has no time limit for a one-on-one meeting – but there is a 40-minute time limit for three or more participants. However, you can schedule two or more back-to-back meetings (with five – to 10-minute bathroom breaks in between) to accommodate the need for a longer meeting when you use the basic plan. Zoom has addressed privacy and security issues

There have been articles in the news about security and privacy issues associated with Zoom, (https:// However, recent software updates have addressed these privacy issues.

The problem of uninvited guests “zoom-bombing” or disrupting meetings with profanity are mostly a result of people posting meeting invitations on social media or public websites in which anyone can click on a meeting invitation and join the meeting.

Starting April 4, Zoom chose to enable passwords on all meetings and turn on Waiting Rooms by default as additional security enhancements to protect your privacy. With Waiting Rooms enabled, the meeting host can block uninvited guests from joining the meeting.

Links to short Zoom training videos

Here are links to short videos on specific topics from the bottom of the Zoom support web page:

How to join a meeting (1:09 minutes long):

Joining and configuring audio and video (1:42 minutes long):

Scheduling a meeting with Zoom website (1:07 minutes long):

Meeting controls (10:16 minutes long):

Sharing your screen (1:16 minutes long):

Recording a meeting (1:35 minutes long):

Other options

FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and Skype also let you have multiple people on a video call at one time. Go to the Rossmoor Computer Club website ( and click on the LINKS menu choice at the top-right of the page to learn more about making video phone calls to one or more people.

Have a tech question or want to see an archive of previous Tech Tips columns? Go to the Computer Club website, and click on the LINKS menu choice at the top-right of the page.

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