Portable greenscreen/3 Idiots/SketchUp


Recomendo: issue no. 194

Virtual background for Zoom meetings
I recently conducted an interview in Zoom with over 200 people in the audience, and a colleague who watched later told me I should not be Zooming to a large audience with my bedroom in the background. But instead of moving my computer set up, I bought this a Webaround Portable Greenscreen. It’s a 56-inch circular chair-mounted background and it works perfectly with Zoom’s Virtual Background setting. You can use any photo as your background. Here’s a before and after photo of me without and with the greenscreen. — MF

Recomended Bollywood
I recommend this long movie for a stay-at-home visit to India. This 2009 Bollywood hit is called 3 Idiots (a better title would be 3 Renegades) and was the all-time bestselling movie in India in its time. Besides being fun and campy, almost a parody of a bollywood hit, it is a brilliant depiction of the ongoing tension between tradition and innovation in this most populous country on the planet. Here’s what a billion young Indians are contending with. Although it is almost 3 hours long, I’ve seen it three times. This version on Amazon Prime is in Hindi. You need to turn CC on for subtitles. — KK

3D design skill tutorial
SketchUp is a general-purpose 3D design software for makers that is free in its basic version, and is very popular. There are dozens of other programs for precision parts, or organic shapes, but SketchUp scales nicely between 3D printing to woodworking to architecture, and is super easy to learn. By far the best tutorial on how to learn SketchUp (a skill transferable to most other 3D apps) is this free YouTube series, SketchUp Tutorial by April Wilkerson. She is an ace teacher, with the kind of practical hints I needed.  — KK

Old-time radio plays
Now that we are stuck at home, we have a lot more time to relax at home. My family of four is using the living room together in the evenings. My wife does a crossword puzzle and my two daughters and I sketch. At the same time, we listen to a terrific old radio drama series called Suspense. has 911 episodes, which may or may not last until the stay-at-home order is lifted, depending on how many episodes we listen to each night. — MF

Use your computer like a tool
This blog post served as a nudge to remind me that my computer is a tool, not a distraction device, and had some good strategies for making the most of my screen time. Like, “Full Screen is your Friend,” and you don’t need time tracking software to help you focus on a task, just use a sticky note. Write down what you need to focus on and put it on your monitor where you can see it, and only use your computer with that specific purpose in mind. It’s fool-proof. — CD

Revisited advice
These are just a few words of advice that I had saved, which have become much more meaningful to me lately — CD:
“If all you did was just looked for things to appreciate, you would live a joyously spectacular life.” ― Esther Abraham Hicks
“Let go or be dragged.” — Zen Proverb
“Be messy and complicated and afraid and show up anyways.” — Glennon Doyle Melton
No.” is a complete sentence. — Unknown

-- Kevin Kelly, Mark Frauenfelder, Claudia Dawson 04/5/20

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