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Learn how to start Google Meet quickly, manage Meet audio and video from your keyboard, modify how Meet displays, and more.

Photo: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

When you combine a Chromebook (a device built for the web) with Google Meet (an app built for web meetings), you get one of the simplest and most reliable ways to hold a video conference. The device and app automatically adjust to deliver the best combination of video and audio possible.

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Many people access Google Meet by clicking a link either in Google Calendar or Gmail. The following tips offer several different ways to start and control Meet features on a Chromebook. (For all of these, you’ll need to be signed in to your Chromebook with a Google account that has Google Meet access enabled.)

How to start a meeting

To start a new session with Google Meet, open a new browser window (try: Ctrl+N), type meet.new in the address bar, then press enter. This sequence puts you at a Google Meet preview screen, from which you may Join Now, Present, or Join And Use A Phone For Audio. Meet.new, much like other browser shortcuts (e.g., doc.new, meeting.new, note.new, sheet.new, slides.new), gives you a way to type a short command to open a web app.

How to display upcoming Google Meet sessions

To review Google Meet sessions for the day, go to meet.google.com in a browser window (Figure A). This page displays the current date and time (in the upper left), upcoming meetings associated with your account, and the option to +Join Or Start A Meeting.

Figure A

Screenshot of meet.google.com page, with two upcoming Google Meet sessions displayed.

Open https://meet.google.com to display your upcoming Google Meet sessions for the day.

How to pin Google Meet to the Shelf

On a Chromebook, if you plan to use Google Meet often, add it to the Shelf for one-click (or tap) access. Follow these steps to add Google Meet to the Shelf.

1. Open a new Chrome window and go to https://meet.google.com.

2. Select the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of Chrome, then choose More Tools, then Create Shortcut (Figure B).

Figure B

Screenshot of web page on meet.google.com, with submenus open to Create shortcut option.

While on https://meet.google.com, navigate to the Chrome browser menu option to Create Shortcut.

3. Select the blue Create button (Figure C). This adds Meet as a Shortcut in the Launcher.

Figure C

Screenshot that displays option to edit Shortcut name, and blue create button.

Select the Create button to add a shortcut to meet.google.com.

4. Select the Launcher (the circle, typically in the lower left portion of the Shelf).

5. Type Meet in the search box.

6. Right-click on the Meet icon that displays, then choose Pin To Shelf (Figure D).

Figure D

Screenshot that shows Meet icon within the launcher, with Pin to shelf option highlighted.

Select the Launcher (the circle, typically in the lower left corner on a Chromebook), then type Meet in the search bar, right-click on the Meet app icon, then choose Pin To Shelf.

The Meet icon should now display on the Shelf. When you click (or tap on) it, meet.google.com will open in a new browser tab.

For other ways to start Google Meet, read 7 ways to access Google Meet.

How to display keyboard controls

While in an active Google Meet session, press ctrl+/ to display available keyboard shortcuts for Meet (Figure E). This key combination also works to display keyboard shortcuts in most G Suite apps. (I tend to remember the combination by the other punctuation element found on the same key: ctrl+?.)

Figure E

Screenshot of Google Meet available screenshots, as listed in the article text.

While in a Google Meet session, press ctrl+/ to display available keyboard shortcuts.

As of early August 2020, Google Meet keyboard shortcuts include:

  • ctrl+d to mute (or unmute) your microphone
  • ctrl+e to turn your webcam off (or on)
  • ctrl+alt+c to display (or hide) chat
  • ctrl+alt+p to display (or hide) the list of people in the session
  • ctrl+alt+s to announce the current speaker
  • ctrl+alt+i to announce current information about the room

How to modify how Google Meet displays on your screen

Press the full screen key (Figure F) on a Chromebook while in a Google Meet session to fill your screen with your meeting–this hides the Shelf, the address, and bookmark bars, as well as other tabs that you may have open. An additional press on the full screen key exits full screen mode.

Figure F

Photo of Pixelbook Go (Chromebook) keyboard, with red circle around the full screen key.

Press the full-screen key on your Chromebook while in Google Meet to hide the Shelf, the address, and bookmark bars. Press the key again to exit full-screen mode.

When not in full-screen mode, you may choose to move the window with Google Meet to a portion of your screen. Two key combinations to try:

  • alt+[ to toggle the window between the left portion of the screen or centered, and
  • alt+] to toggle the window between the right portion of the screen or centered.

The above alt-bracket combinations are useful when you want to display or refer to other information while in a Google Meet session. (These combinations let you quickly re-position not only Chrome browser windows, but also Android apps on your Chromebook.)

How to take a screenshot to save information 

Chrome OS includes two built-in keyboard controls that let you capture either a full or partial screenshot. This can be a fast way to preserve information displayed on screen during a Google Meet session. On a Chromebook, use the following shortcuts:

  • ctrl+show windows keys to take a screenshot (Figure G), or
  • ctrl+shift+show windows keys, then click and drag the cursor to select an area of the screen to take a screenshot of a portion of the display.

Access these screenshots wherever your Chromebook has been configured to save downloads. (To adjust where Chrome OS saves downloads, open chrome://settings/downloads on your Chromebook, then modify the settings.)

Figure G

Photo of Chromebook keyboard with red circles around ctrl and show windows keys

While in Google Meet, press ctrl+show windows to capture a full-screen screenshot.

How to add an in-house live stream

If your G Suite account includes the ability to live stream from Meet to people in your organization, you may create a live stream link when you start a new Meet session (Figure H). Select the three vertical dots displayed in the lower right corner of the video preview page, then choose Add An In-house Live Stream. This creates and displays a link that you may copy and share with people in your organization. Remember, this sort of live stream may only be accessed by people who are signed in to an account within your organization.

Figure H

Gif that shows 3 images: the three-dot circle on the Meet preview page; the Add in-house live stream option; and the button to copy the created live stream link.

If your G Suite account includes the ability to live stream to your organization, you may create a live stream link from the Google Meet New Meeting preview page.

What’s your experience?

What has your experience with Google Meet on a Chromebook been? Do you use keyboard controls to adjust audio, video, or to control how Meet displays on screen? Let me know your best tips for using Google Meet on a Chromebook, either in the comments below or on Twitter (@awolber).

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Amazon Prime Day 2020 starts Oct. 13: How to get the best deals

amazon prime day

Get details and tips about one of Amazon’s biggest sales of the year.

Image: Ray Pawulich/CNET

Amazon Prime Day is a two-day sale on Amazon’s website, exclusively for its Prime members (an Amazon Prime membership is $119/year). The event usually takes place in July, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the date for the 2020 Amazon Prime Day will take place “later than usual,” according to the company. 

When is Amazon Prime Day 2020?

This year, Amazon Prime Day took place in India on August 6-7, but the online event has been postponed in the US three times. Sister site CNET is now independently reporting that Prime Day will start on October 13; Amazon has not confirmed the date of the event. 

A spokesperson for Amazon stated, “Stay tuned for more details on Prime Day. Customers can also say, ‘Alexa, keep me posted on Prime Day.’ If customers make this Alexa request, they will be notified when [Amazon] announces the dates and when Prime Day begins.” 

SEE: IT hardware procurement policy (TechRepublic Premium)

What are the best tech deals on Amazon Prime Day 2020?

Amazon Prime Day usually offers massive discounts on hardware, software, TVs, gaming consoles, Amazon’s own hardware (Echos, Kindles, Fire Sticks, tablets, etc.), and much more. When the Amazon Prime 2020 deals are available, we’ll update this article with details.

As of September 9, 2020, Amazon has begun offering deals on the Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus in the US and UK. Below are some of the current deals:

Amazon device deals in the US

On September 24, 2020, Amazon announced several new products, features, and services, some of which may be available on Prime Day. Be sure to look for discounts on the Amazon Echo smart speakersEero 6 Mesh routers, Ring security products, and Fire TV.

What are shopping tips for Amazon Prime Day 2020?

According to GameSpot, Amazon typically features different types of deals during Prime Day, including: 

  • Early Access or Countdown Deals: These deals will appear on Amazon prior to the Prime Day event.

  • Spotlight Deals: These deals last for 24 hours and may happen in the lead-up to or during the Prime Day event. 

  • Prime Day Exclusive Deals: These deals run for the duration of Prime Day but selected products may run out of stock. 

  • Lightning Deals: These are limited-time, limited-stock deals and typically run out of stock quickly. In order to stay up-to-date with the deals, GameSpot recommends that you “keep up with them through the Amazon app on your iOS or Android phone. You can get a sneak peek at the day’s Lighting Deals by pressing ‘Today’s Deal’ in the top left app menu, then the ‘Upcoming’ tab. Find a deal that you want and tap ‘Watch This Deal’ to get notified when it starts.”

More about Amazon Prime Day 2020

This article will be updated as more information becomes available about Amazon Prime Day 2020. Also, check out the Amazon Prime Day 2020 coverage on sister sites CNET and Chowhound.

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Adaptive Meta-Learning for Identification of Rover-Terrain Dynamics

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The dynamics of extraterrestrial rovers is dependent on the terrain. The high-level terrain classification used in most current rovers is often not enough to ensure safe path selection, as the experience with NASA’s Curiosity and Spirit shows.

Adaptive Meta Learning for Identification of Rover Terrain Dynamics

Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

A recent paper suggests a model of the terrain parameters that govern wheel-terrain interaction. Knowing the terrain may help to predict whether the neighboring regions are traversable, plan the safest route, and prevent damage.

A linear model, which relates terrain parameters (namely cohesion and internal friction angle) and rover dynamics is supplemented by a meta-learned neural network. The interpretability of the model is enhanced by the orthogonality of nominal and meta-learned features. The model is capable of rapid adaptation and provides low estimation errors (the largest error is less than 5%).

Rovers require knowledge of terrain to plan trajectories that maximize safety and efficiency. Terrain type classification relies on input from human operators or machine learning-based image classification algorithms. However, high level terrain classification is typically not sufficient to prevent incidents such as rovers becoming unexpectedly stuck in a sand trap; in these situations, online rover-terrain interaction data can be leveraged to accurately predict future dynamics and prevent further damage to the rover. This paper presents a meta-learning-based approach to adapt probabilistic predictions of rover dynamics by augmenting a nominal model affine in parameters with a Bayesian regression algorithm (P-ALPaCA). A regularization scheme is introduced to encourage orthogonality of nominal and learned features, leading to interpretable probabilistic estimates of terrain parameters in varying terrain conditions.

Link: https://arxiv.org/abs/2009.10191