Zoom Hot Mic Disaster (tips to prevent)

Like most folks, I spend most of my day on zoom calls. I purchased a “flap” to cover my camera while not on a Zoom. Any similar tips to prevent a “Hot Mic Disaster.” I have a microphone in my MacBook, My Jabra 510 speakerphone, and my Logitec webcam. I fear it is only a matter of time before one of those microphones is on while debating with my teenagers in my home office :slight_smile:

Any tips or lessons learned would be appreciated

I would recommend getting a USB mic with a physical off switch.

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In Windows you can change the Privacy settings and stop applications from using the microphone and camera. You then need to flip the setting, when you go into a conference.

I’m going to be the pragmatist and suggest that you treat any mic and/or camera as live and avoid discussions in its vicinity that would lead to embarrassment. I realize that isn’t helpful to your original question, but still a little self-control shouldn’t be dismissed.

As for the actual problem, I think an “on the air” indicator that was controlled by the fact the software in use was able to hear/see you would be helpful… but I don’t use the technologies so don’t know how possible that would be to build. Ideally, if such an indication were wired into the mic and camera that would be the most fool-proof. Failing that, it would probably need to be built into the OS or a driver so that it worked with any software that might gain access to an input.

Windows Powertoys has an up an coming feature (still in alpha I think) to allow you to use a hot key to control the camera and mic. https://github.com/microsoft/PowerToys/wiki/Video-Conference-Mute-Overview

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Very good feature idea!

Does anyone know if it is available for a Mac?

@nrfildes I love love love the idea of a physical switch for Mic + Camera…sadly, the macbook does not have that :frowning:

Well to stop the camera from seeing anything it should not, something as simple as a sticky note over the lens should be sufficient if the camera doesn’t have its own shutter. This would of course rely on you develop the habit of placing and removing it as appropriate.

I have a Blue Yeti mic. It’s not cheap, but it works well, and it has a physical mute switch on the front. It’s solid red when the mic is live and flash red when disabled. You can plug analog headphones into the bottom of it and it will work as an audio out. (You should always use headphones with a microphone so you avoid feedback or echo.)

All the business and professional class laptops I’ve seen over the last 3 years now seem to have a slide-shutter that covers the camera lens, some are a simple shutter, others also disconnect the camera feed internally.

Likewise, all professional laptops have a hot-key to disable the microphone.

To be honest, I wouldn’t buy a laptop these days without such a privacy shutter and cut-out for the microphone.

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