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June 03, 2023



I know there are [local area] Meetup Groups either for specific interests or for just general "look, I'm here and I want to meet people and have friends" and now I am wondering whether there are any Zoom meetup groups for those who want friends in the same area but are still hunkering due to the pandemic. Facebook Autoimmune [your area] Support Group, maybe? Where you could propose outdoor meetups at a park if the weather is not-terrible?

(I assume if you met people at a park and stayed 6 feet away, Gary would not quarantine you?)

(parks and distancing reminds me that there is that... slow movement thing. Tai Chi? Could you go to a Tai Chi group in your area?)

It is probably premature to assume you will sabotage all your friendships, one by one, but ALSO I understand the fear. It is entirely possible to make friends after retirement, though - volunteering, folk music groups, groups for specific arts/crafts, etc.

But also it just plain sucks, and I'm sorry.


KC - Gary would not flat-out quarantine me for meeting people at a park, but what he would do is suddenly start feeling unwell, diagnose himself with the respiratory or stomach flu, then decide he caught it from me and then avoid me for 4 days. No kissing, no touching. This appears to be his pattern. ait does not help with the loneliness.

Big Dot

I’m lonely too, and I’m not stuck at home, just useless with people. Always have been. Ignored it for years but have had time to notice it since Covid. Sucks.


Loneliness is surely part of the human connection, so you can be assured you are human. And I never have really understood Gary. KC makes some great points. It might help a little to try and reframe how you are thinking about this. (I find that I can bury myself in bad thoughts in under a minute.)
So, when you go down the Zoom meeting, try thinking, Damn isn't it great to be able to see and talk with these people through the gift of the internet. And, why on earth would you think that at retirement you would be cut off from your friends? With some thought you could set up a plan to meet with the ones you like once every few weeks. And, couldn't you set up a weekly zoom chat with a couple of people, like Friend Anne, and just visit for 30 minutes or so. It is a really good way to keep up with people who are important to you. Through your city or town, there may be walking groups, who meet once or twice a week to walk outdoors. We also have a senior center in town and people there have set up park meetings and even outdoor card games for folks. I have friends who do a zoom book club meeting once a month, you might google and see if anything like that exists near you. Also, there are many cities that have programs to help immigrants learn English or get their equivalent high school diploma and most of that happens on Zoom or at a bench in the park.
I think you are an amazing woman, who battles hard times with grace. I am not clear on Gary's delight in making hard times harder. PS, you may need to spend more time with the neighborhood four-year-old, she sounds smart and funny.


Big Dot - You seem quite good with people from behind a keyboard, though, or with strangers. Those aren't the relationships that matter, though.
Kate - these are very kind words. And yes, that girl is very smart and funny. My Mom dealt with retirement well, she saw her friends once a month when they cooked her breakfast at her house.


Q: is Zoom literally Zoom? Because I'm betting that your conservative-as-to-security, aware-of-the-Samsung-chatGPT-incidents company would be having *fits* if they were aware of section 10.4(ii) of the new-ish Zoom user ToS, unless they have a special we-don't-feed-your-company's-zoom-calls-into-the-ravening-mouth-of-AI license.

If they *are* using Zoom and your ToS are the regular ones, I would love to hear various lawyers at your company explode when they find out about that clause, though.
[approximately, a license to use/save customer content for a bunch of normal things and then:]
(ii) for the purpose of product and service development, marketing, analytics, quality assurance, machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing, improvement of the Services, Software, or Zoom’s other products, services, and software, or any combination thereof

(this would be less alarming to me personally if Zoom didn't have or plan to have non-Zoom-call AI products - aka if they were intending to limit this to *only* use AI to improve backgrounds, noise reduction, and provide meeting summaries and transcripts, but Zoom does very definitely already have Other Products, i.e. https://explore.zoom.us/en/conversational-intelligence/ and I would bet having proprietary business information fed into things like that and potentially being spat out again by the AI a la the Samsung chatGPT incidents, would be something conservative companies would be Not Thrilled With. But automatically having the largest AI data training set of business and personal video calls in the world: that's worth a big ol' chunk of cash right there.)


(Zoom has posted a response saying "we don't use your call data for training AI without your consent [but we do use your call data for training AI when we're trying to stop scammers from using our services]" but I would love to know whether consenting to the ToS is consent or not. They imply not, though! In a blog post that has no legal standing, though, and also they imply "not" rather than stating "not.")


KC - Teddy J has no doubt already had their lawyers draw up a special TeddyJ version of the Zoom contract. I am certain of this.


It sounds like no one had noticed this bit in the Terms of Service until this weekend, approximately, despite these being the ToS since the end of March? So I am not 100% sure; it depends how fastidiously and closely the TeddyJ lawyers read everything. The 2022 and prior Zoom Terms of Service were good on privacy and no-one-gets-access-to-your-content-unless-it's-the-law, approximately, and after they failed at some privacy aspects, they locked things down and fixed that, so I think people assumed things were safe/fine and did not need significant attention.

And there is no summary of changes or easy way to compare the versions (archive.org's wayback machine is, I think, the only way?), and the 10.4(ii) bit is tucked in the middle of a paragraph that is otherwise bland and boiler-plate-y. Anyway! Zoom addressed it today to the point of adding a line after section 10.4 about how they will not use your data to train AI models without your consent to the ToS, except that they didn't indicate whether consenting to the ToS *is* consenting to AI usage, or whether consenting to be AI training data is a separate step, which is a bit of a... gap.

But yeah, maybe TeddyJ has separate ToS - when you personally sign into zoom, do they show you your Terms of Service and are they the same as the generic ones?


KC -"depends how fastidiously and closely the TeddyJ lawyers read everything." - Oh you can't imagine. There was some outside software we wanted to buy. It took a year for the lawyers to read and negotiate the contract.


I'd bet there's a difference between "panicked signoff given for WFH software during a pandemic" (also, the old generic ToS were fine privacy-wise; it was the March 31 one that threw this ultra-curveball into the mix) and "eh, some group in the company wants this new software, no hurry" but I could be wrong.

I *could* see TeddyJ potentially requiring all software companies to notify them in advance of any changes in ToS so they're not flailing at the last minute like everybody else if there's an unacceptable item tucked in there, but software companies often have "oops" ToS updates as well as "oh, we've been doing this for a while, we'd better include our being allowed to do it in our ToS" updates, so I'm not sure they'd entirely escape last-minute takes-effect-now ToS updates. (not that March 31 was last-minute at this point. Just, no one noticed-and-publicly-objected until this weekend when Zoom ran a "agree that you've read and agree to our new ToS to join the meeting you were trying to join" coercive update.)

They could probably require software companies to not make the ToS apply to them until a month after release and notification of a new ToS, though. Probably? If they have enough weight to throw around that all software companies would care? But keeping up on *all* the ToS for all the software your employees use and all the websites your employees are allowed to visit at work: that would be a lot of reading. A *lot* - esp. given the sheer length of Google and MS's ToS...


kC - i'll keep an ear out for any ripples, but I haven't heard any concern so far.

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