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Spielberg-produced mini-series in Mexico put on hold over coronavirus

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MEXICO CITY — The filming in Mexico of a big budget Steven Spielberg-produced Amazon mini-series, starring Spanish actor Javier Bardem, has been suspended due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to a letter sent to cast and crew on Friday and seen by Reuters.

The production entitled Mexica, which centers on the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs, began filming two weeks ago on location in Mexico City. Mexico has so far confirmed 26 cases of coronavirus.

Only a skeletal wrap crew will continue working through next week, and cast and crew were informed that production might resume in December depending on how the public health crisis develops.

The project’s budget is believed to be tens of millions of dollars, and dozens of local contractors will be affected by the suspension.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move came after the cancellation of the Guadalajara International Film Festival, set to kick off in Mexico’s second biggest city late next week, and as U.S. studios delayed filming.

Walt Disney Co on Friday said it has halted production on some live-action films for a short time on concerns over the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Warner Bros. Pictures said on Saturday the company had put production of “The Batman” movie on hold for two weeks.

Some 153,025 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 5,788 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

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Skype rolls out 'Meet Now' for hosting video calls without downloading an app – MobileSyrup

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Skype is rolling out a new feature to makes it easier to host online video meetings.

Dubbed ‘Meet Now,’ the feature takes a page out of Zoom’s book by letting Skype users generate shareable meeting links. Then, anyone with the link can quickly join the Skype meeting, no sign-ups or downloads required.

It’s a fairly simple system. Users can quickly create a meeting on Skype’s website with a click. Once the unique meeting link is active, you can share it via Outlook or Gmail, or copy it to your clipboard to send it another way. Anyone can join using the link, even if they’re not on Skype. Plus, the links don’t expire, so you can continue to access the free meeting space in the future.

If you’re using a computer, the link will open the Skype web app and you’ll be free to join the call. If you don’t have a Skype account, you’ll join as a visitor.

On mobile, things are a little different. The link will automatically open in the Skype app if it’s installed on your phone. If it isn’t, the link directs you to the app store on your phone to download Skype so you can participate.

Unfortunately, there are a few caveats. The first is that the Meet Now feature only works with Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. If you use Safari or Firefox, you’ll need to download the Skype app instead.

The other caveat stems from Zoom. That free video conferencing app recently adjusted how it handles meeting links because online trolls were abusing the system to take over meetings and share graphic content (called ‘Zoombombing’). Zoom added passwords by default to meetings, along with a new waiting room feature to give hosts more control over who can join a meeting in hopes of reducing the ‘Zoombombing’ antics.

Depending on how Skype handles its Meet Now links, the platform could become the next Zoom. Hopefully Microsoft learned a lesson or two from Zoom before implementing Meet Now.

Source: Skype, (2)

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Zoom enables meeting passwords by default, waiting rooms to cut down on intruders – MobileSyrup

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Free video conferencing app Zoom announced its first feature change to improve security and privacy: passwords by default.

The announcement comes after the company said it would halt development on new features for 90 days to devote all its resources to fixing the numerous security and privacy flaws plaguing the app.

For those who haven’t followed the Zoom saga, the video conferencing service grew massively in popularity over the last few months — from an average 10 million daily users to 200 million daily users — thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase in remote work and physical distancing measures. However, with that popularity Zoom also became a target. Over the last week, reports have detailed several vulnerabilities with Zoom, a flaw that leaked email addresses and something called ‘Zoombombing.’

Zoom’s plan to add passwords by default for all meetings should help prevent that latter issue. Previously, people were able to join publicly available Zoom meetings through links traded online. While that feature was intended to make joining meetings a seamless experience, it also enabled the Zoombombing mischief that has run rampant on the platform. Specifically, Zoombombing is when someone joins a public Zoom meeting and takes advantage of the screen sharing tool to take over the meeting. Often, Zoombombers share graphic content like pornography.

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While Zoom users could mitigate Zoombombings by adjusting the default settings so that only specific meeting participants can share their screen, the addition of passwords to all meeting rooms should help. Zoom already turned on passwords by default for new meetings, instant meetings and meetings joined through a ‘meeting ID.’ Starting April 5th, it will turn on passwords for previously scheduled Zoom meetings too.

Zoom’s waiting rooms feature will help cut down on unwanted participants

Ultimately, the process of joining a meeting shouldn’t change for most users. Zoom notes on its support page that attendees who join through meeting invites or calendar events will not have to use a password. Instead, the changes apply to people who try to join manually through a meeting ID.

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Along with the new password protections, Zoom will enable waiting rooms by default for all meetings. That means when meeting participants join a call, they’ll have to wait in a “waiting room,” a virtual buffer between participants and the call. From there, meeting hosts can grant some or all in the waiting room access to the meeting.

Zoom released the above YouTube video detailing the changes and how they work. You can also read up on the changes on Zoom’s support website.

The Verge notes that the changes could also help fix another security issue plaguing Zoom. Security researchers recently developed a tool that could scan and identify 100 non-password-protected Zoom meeting IDs in an hour. Plus, the tool could scrape information about those meetings. It’s possible the new password-by-default approach could protect users against similar scanning tools.

Source: Zoom Via The Verge

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Forget Zoom: Skype unveils free 'Meet Now' video calls – Tom's Guide

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There’s no question that Zoom has quickly become the leader in video meetings and video calls during the coronavirus pandemic. It offers free, 40-minute conference calls with up to 100 attendees, and lots of people are using this tool to stay in touch and have fun with features like swapping out Zoom backgrounds.

But there’s also serious questions about Zoom’s security and privacy issues, only some of which the company has addressed thus far. In order to capitalize on Zoom’s troubles, Skype has rolled out Skype Meet Now calls that don’t require a sign-up or installation.

Here’s how it works. Meet Now allows you to host conference calls by generating a free unique link with one click. You then share that link with participants to enjoy unlimited meetings via Skype. According to Microsoft, which owns Skype, your meeting link does not expire and can be used at any time.

Skype says that you’ll be able to leverage its features during your video conferences. This includes the ability to record your call and save it for later. The company stores your recording for 30 days. You can also blur your background before entering the call, which is helpful for those of us are don’t have the neatest home office or who have pets or children jumping in and out of the frame.

With Skype Meet Now, you can also share your screen at any time, which makes it easier to collaborate with colleagues and share presentations with a group.

Meet Now works on any device with the Skype app installed, and you don’t even need a Skype account to join these calls. You can also use the Skype web client for making calls.

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