Somebody on the call would breathe heavily and grunt periodically, and it would cause the host to pause his presentation for a second until it stopped. After a few interruptions, the host finally said "Sorry folks, I'm getting some background noise, so I'm going to go ahead and mute everyone." and that was that.
To this day I still have no idea who it was making the noise or what they were doing. I am still amazed at how he handled that with a straight face as I was out of my chair laughing my ass off.
Some guy on a different team fell asleep and started to snore loudly. A check of the participants showed one unmuted mic, so I DMed his boss, the host, and said “heads up: it’s Peter”.
Unfortunately, the presenter was sharing screen and hadn’t turned off notifications, so the whole room saw a pop up from me ratting out the guy.
Extra points if they break to the point they have to turn off their video.
This is actually a very good and general principle of behaviour: "act as if anything you say to anybody is overheard by everybody else in the world". Maybe you won't ever become a sneaky manager if you follow this principle, but you will certainly sleep well at night.
I was on a cybersecurity team. We were all guys and much younger at the time, so perhaps not the most mature. We also were pretty decent at what we did, so our egos were...let's go with our egos weren't in check. As a result we had a running competition of who was the best at defending their laptop from getting hacked by one of the others, and who was the best at hacking them. Notice of success was delivered by setting the desktop background and/or screensaver to one of the Absolut ad images with Fabio style men dressed in skimpy clothing. Have I covered the not very mature at the time? This also was around 2002, so social awareness of just how bad this behavior was, and how toxic it could have been if female colleagues saw it, was not on our radar at the time.
Anyways, this all came to a halt one day. The team lead had been hacked a couple days before, and the person doing it went a little overboard and put the image  on the screensaver, the main desktop, and the external monitor desktop. The lead deleted the image from the screensaver and the main desktop, but didn't expect it on the external monitor desktop and didn't check.
He discovered it when he connected his external monitor port to the big screen just before a presentation to a small room full of 2-stars and SESs, who were shocked at what they saw on the big screen. Our team got an earful (rightly so), and we were probably lucky we didn't get fired. That was the last of that competition, and he was getting razzed about it a little four years later when I left the company for greener pastures.
 The image. Warning, it is a graphic male image. https://www.advertisingarchives.co.uk/detail/32171/1/Billboa...
I'd set my DISPLAY environment variable to his desktop, then use xv to open whatever gross / unflattering / whatever pictures I'd found on the net that day.
Thankfully it only showed my phone number and not my name, and it was ambiguous enough not to be totally obvious. But still....
But my career has had much more upward trajectory, and I have had more fun by being actively sympathetic to my colleges mistakes and trying to "cover" for people instead of telling on them.
Of course I'd never cover for someone doing something illegal, but I stopped looking at work as a contest where I wanted to look the best, and decided to help everyone put their best presentation forward.
The weirdest thing is after I began to get a reputation for this, I am in a WAY better position to get someone fired if I really need to.
It can be annoying that Teams lets you mute but not unmute people, but thank god it doesn't.
I’ve never tried it myself as the mere concept of doing so is a huge invasion of privacy, but after learning that any meeting could have this option enabled, I no longer assume that my muted mic will stay that way.
For this reason I always keep my laptop Mike volume to 0, and use the mute button on my headset which is not computer controlled. And an external webcam which I can plug in when I want to.
In Zoom on Windows I go to Settings > Video > check Turn off video when joining meeting
I'm pretty sure that will stop anyone from forcing my camera on. But I think that setting defaults to unchecked, meaning by default Zoom automatically shows your video.
For extra protection:
Settings > Audio > uncheck Automatically join audio by computer when joining a meeting
Settings > Audio > check Mute my microphone when joining a meeting
Settings > Audio > uncheck Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute yourself.
I also generally join a bogus empty meeting before any real meeting to preview and ensure my microphone, webcam, virtual background, filters, and studio effects are all the way I want them and not something silly from some playful meeting yesterday.
This way I would blame it on my connection, not the other person, who is actually causing it. In a team setting, it goes like "Oh, so we're all hearing our own echoes. We should quit and try again" If there is one person acting as reflector with the right delay (echo generator) for everyone else, that could work, in theory.
However, this was pretty common for a prank, especially 10-15 years ago on services like Ventrilo which resulted in the then-popular Ventrilo Harassment series. Most of the people who got pranked in those didn't get a visual indicator of who was playing sound. The situation you describe can be seen in this video titled "Ventertainment - Nerd Confusion 3: The Ring":
I'd never do it on the air by the way, I'd use an aux bus while taking to them over the TalkBack while music was playing.
I've never seen local echo on a video conference nor do I really see a realistic path that could reasonably cause this. Regular echo, on the other hand, is common.
Sounds like this device:
And last but not least... tech literacy
Yes, the forced shift to a lot of remote working and thus meetings has worked out a real divide between those who understand and care about not being annoying in an online meeting and those who don't.
You know - lit red, press it and it turns green for a live mic - release and back to red. Maybe a lock on button.
I've looked online and there are few microphones with buttons/indicators.
PTT (in my experience) has some significant disadvantages in terms of interactivity. You can't have a real spontaneous conversation, and you can't hear people laugh.
Its a blunt stick when you cannot trust people to keep quiet or appropriately position their mic when they aren't talking.
Atleast you only need to deal with their mic quality when they're talking, which at that point you can directly ask the person to fix it if need be.
Those who are polite with their communication are drowned out by those who are not.
It really doesnt suffer interactivity problems, mouse 4 exists on most non-shitty mice.
I've found that most people seem to fix things themselves after being told a relatively small number of times.
That said, you still need a decent mic if you're using PTT, dealing with someone's crap audio when they do P to T is still a bad experience.
Most of the time people just don't know their audio is a problem, and all of the times I've pointed it out it's got fixed.
PTT isn't 0 cost if you take into account the reduction in fluidity of a conversation. If I didn't have my mic already I would consider it a reasonable price to pay to get good audio quality, especially since you still need good audio quality when you're actually talking.
The Model M sitting on my desk would laugh in that better microphone's general direction.
So it may take a while. But you can vote for it if you want to increase its chances.
I think PTT is already there in some usecases but only when you're talking to people with galaxy phones (walkie talkie mode).
As far as I've heard there's no plans for push to talk in regular meetings for now.
Another fun one was a script (actually just a gstreamer chain) that intentionally garbled your camera's video stream, since another exam requirement was a running wide-angle camera (sometimes two!).
And usually do.
How many times will we have to learn the lessons of the late '90s/'00s?
Its MDN doc (https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Web/API/HTMLMediaEl...) shows it as a not-quite-finalized feature, but even so, seems odd to have a pref just for it.
Granted, a glitchy audio implementation might be just the thing for this use case...
Mentioing the info from kelnos' comment would be excellent.
If someone wants to use this they should have no problem running in chrome.
When you see this warning nowadays, it's not usually about that, but about Firefox or Safari being behind in supporting already-specced APIs.
For example, the WebUSB APIs are still in draft community status but is already there in chrome. Presumably because they created it for chromeos, ported it to chrome and then submitted it to the standards body - in that order. They are definitely going to continue this. I don’t see chrome publishing and getting a standard approved before implementing it at all. It’s also how IE6 holdover came about.
Web developers aren’t supposed to rely on non-standard features because it’s tight coupling and will bite you if the browser ever stagnates. That’s the lesson I learnt from the whole IE6 saga.
But I like WebGL2 and SharedArrayBuffer and don’t feel bad blocking users until their browser catches up.
The web of the 90s/00s was actually a lot more resilient and compatible and secure than the bullshit js SPAs we get jammed down our throats today.