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Let's talk about video-calling.
Video chatting

My biggest beef with video calling is that you're always required to have an account with some company, or own a product from some company, or this, or that. Facetime? Need Apple products. Skype? Need Skype. Google meet? Need an account

Today I'm going to talk about a really simple online video-chatting tool that you don't need to sign up for, don't need to download, and don't need to pay to use. Next time you're stranded on a deserted island with an LG phone, just remember this tech-letter.

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Briefing 📱
Briefing Video Communication tool

Today's tech-letter will be very short and straightforward (lucky me).  

Briefing is a secure video communication platform that uses "WebRTC" (Web Real-Time Communication) to help connect participants. For reference, products like WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger, all use WebRTC technology.

Now for starters, the best part about Briefing is that you're not required to sign up, and your cookies are not stored. This is just a video-communication platform, no data should be stored anyway. 

Instead of your communication with x person passing through X company's servers, all communication on Briefing goes directly from You to whomever you're video-chatting with. I know this isn't "fun content" but we have to start being more privacy-aware, and it's important we familiarise ourselves with the basics, before engaging in new apps and services.

Back to Briefing. As you saw in the image above, the URL has my name in it (brie.fi/ng/Prithvi!). That last chunk of text (in blue) is changeable-- you can rename it whatever you'd like. It's your own party room, babyI named mine Prithvi!, yours can be "Thanks-To-Prithvi", get creative!

    Demonstrating Briefing using 3 separate devices

    Once you start the video chat, there are 2 ways other folks can connect to your "party-room" (it isn't really called a party room, it just feels a lot more fun that way), the instructions are on the right-most column: either visit the URL that you created, or scan the QR code.

    In the image above, I've connected to the same room using 3 devices. My laptop's browser, my iPhone's browser, and my iPad's browser. No download, no sign up, and no payments necessary-- just a browser and some Internet access.

    You'll notice a small white box in the bottom corner of participant 2 and 3. These are "verification" codes, used to ensure that every member is connected in a secure manner

    There are a number of "other" options too (bottom left corner), that include choosing your audio/video source, blurring your background (or adding an image, like in a Zoom call), as well as enabling/disabling your audio/video.

    I think this is a very very useful tool that's available to you regardless of your budget, application usage, or device ownership. You just need a browser with some Internet.

    Note: so far the only "privacy" issue I can think of is if your room name is too easy to guess. My room was called "Prithvi!"; if you name your room "test", you can't assume no one else will join it. Be smart when naming your party rooms

    NordVPN 🔐
    Nord VPN

    Summer's over, but your fight for privacy isn't. If you're unaware of what a VPN is, check out this tech-letter for a brief summary.

    But until then, NordVPN is the only VPN I use after years of experimenting with others. It allows you to protect up to 6 devices at the same time (including browsers, most cellphones, and operating systems).

    What can you do with a VPN? Change your IP Address so that hackers and other third party entities (your Internet provider) can't see what you do online. You can also change your location to use streaming services like Netflix, and even access private information (like online banking) without being worried that someone might spy on your data. 

    Free VPNs invade your privacy, paid competitors charge too much for poor service; I'd know, I've tried a couple already. NordVPN currently has a 2-year sale for only $3.71 a month, a low price to protect your data (again, I personally use this. Feel free to ask me any questions).

    Price? Free ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

    Format? Browser ⭐⭐⭐⭐

    No more Zoom parties. Welcome to Briefing!
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