Video Chat Tips and Windows Update

I have seen some videos that help kids better handle video chat, and I would like to propose that adults follow much of the same advice. Suggestions include choosing the right time of day (when you are calmest and not hungry); having a list of ice-breaker questions to fall back on; having a short agenda; and keeping siblings separate (not all adults are adult). You can always follow-up with targeted emails to track tasks with specific individuals.

While traveling, you can use your smartphone as a WiFi hotspot, which shares your phone’s data with other devices needing to get online. Learn how before you need it. On iPhone and Android, go into settings and find the hotspot options. There are limitations to the number of WiFi devices that can use your hotspot at the same time, and you will want to avoid streaming video too much.

I am still trying to find a fairly universal way to watch streaming media with friends without having to be with them physically. Metastream is a service I have been using lately, as it works with Netflix, Hulu and YouTube, and it seems to handle others that aren’t officially listed. You do need an extension for Firefox or Chrome and, obviously, all people watching need to have their own accounts for paid or account-required services.

If you love to escape into fantasy, you can now watch every animated movie put out by Studio Ghibli. If you aren’t familiar with this Japanese production house, I recommend you start with Spirited Away, the Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. In the US, HBO Max has exclusive streaming rights; so if you have access to that service, go for it.

The big Windows 10 update, aka May 2020 or version 2004, has been blocked on some computers due to out-of-date drivers and software—and it’s failed on others just because. Before implementing this update when offered by Windows, consider backing up your computer, plan for your computer to be out of commission for the duration of the update (it could be hours), and don’t install this before any major deadline. Make sure you have all hardware driver updates for the make and model of your computer. They are supposed to come through Windows Update, but I have found that it can be good to also use the manufacturers’ branded support tools. Make sure you have 30 to 50 GB of free space, just in case, and unplug all extra devices from the computer.

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