tech insight from james vamboi: facetime vs zoom

yesterday, i was checking in with james vamboi and he shared a noticing about an intricacy of video chatting technologies that blew my mind.

we were deciding between a phone call, facetime, and zoom. i said facetime because it’s the fastest way for me to get a video call going. as we got started, james shared that in his experience, facetime video only really allows one microphone to be working at once. if he’s talking, whatever i’m saying doesn’t get picked up and transmitted to him. when i’m talking, anything he says doesn’t get picked up and transmitted to me. and in some conversations, like ours, the simultaneous talking actually matters a lot.


i asked if zoom was the same and he said no! zoom seems to have more allowance of the simultaneous talking to come through. i said i realized that in some types of conversations, that tech difference probably doesn’t matter that much because people are not talking at the same time. but in others it does.

so we switched to zoom. and it was, in fact, better at letting us talk more like we actually do in real life: words tumbling, flowing through, beneath, above each other.

i knew this and have seen this in many places but it’s just so good to see it again: the assumptions of the designer of any tool are embedded in the tool, whether we can see them or not.

words / writing / post-processing
240w / 10min / 4min