Finally, a way to weasel out of those Zoom meetings with a believable excuse. The concept “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” has been around since roughly 1640, attributed to George Herbert. One thing humans “will” more often than not is getting out of something unpleasant or tedious. Cue the virtual work meeting. Is it unpleasant? Sometimes. Tedious? Often. Now Zoom Escaper has brought beleaguered or bored remote workers a way out of meetings, conferences, or even virtual happy hours.
This reminds me of the old fail-safe when you are on a date and have someone call you at a pre-designated time to make sure you don’t want to bail early. Likewise, in a live business meeting, you can always have a colleague knock on the door to call you away for an “urgent matter.” Now that everybody and their barking dog are working remotely, Zoom Escaper is the modern day equivalent of those planned distractions.
Zoom Escaper can play various sounds that make good excuses to leave the call temporarily: Barking dogs, a crying baby, and, bizarrely, a weeping man.
It will even play sounds that will make the other video conference attendees insist on cutting the call short: Loud construction sounds, echoes, feedback, wind as though you are in a car, and a bad connection. The strangest and most antisocial sound it plays that may earn you a ticket to a virtual HR meeting, is that of loud and obvious urinating. Why, though? I find myself giggling as I type, but some people will no doubt find it useful on what I am hoping are rare occasions.
The Zoom Escaper is an installable tool run through VB-Cable that will interrupt your call with a litany of annoying sounds. Once you download VB-Cable and readjust your Zoom (or other video conferencing microphone and output settings), you can play the sound(s) on your call.
If you find it hard to believe that people would go so far to get out of a meeting, well you are likely fortunate enough not to have been to many “This could have been an email” meetings. Either that, or you are wide eyed and innocent, and haven’t seen the lengths people will go to to protect their autonomy, even when working from home. We shared about the proliferation of anti-snitchware devices designed to keep the company from spying in ever more sophisticated ways on remote employees.
I’m laughing, but a word of caution. Zoom Escaper, according to its creator, Sam Lavigne, “allows you to self-sabotage your audio stream, making your presence unbearable to others.”
Read that again.
Now remember that should you choose to go this route to ditch your video conferences, words like “self-sabotage” and “unbearable to others” are not always the best way to impress fellow humans. If you want to crack your friends up on a virtual happy hour, though, hey, go for it.