Thursday, December 25, 2008

Nice to see you!



We've been using Skype for a while now to call family in the UK. I think the first time I logged in to Skype there were fewer than a million people online. Nowadays it's more like 15 million. I was surprised this morning when it was only 10 million - but I suppose a lot of people use it for business. Anyway, we have only recently started making video calls using Skype, and I have to say it's wonderful! We made a couple of calls to the UK today and saw my parents, my niece and nephews and their parents. It's a long time since my kids have seen their cousins, and DS probably doesn't have a really clear memory of them, so being able to see and talk to them was really nice. DS enjoyed putting his face close to the camera to show off the fact that he's lost two of his baby teeth and there is a new one coming through.

The best part of the calls was the fact that I was using a Macbook with a built-in camera, so I was able to walk around the house with it. At one point my sister said, "Take me to the kitchen!" and I did. My mother wanted a closer look at a piece of artwork on the wall so I obliged. We were about to hang up when my kids yelled that my father-in-law was just pulling up on the driveway. My mum said she'd stay online until he came in the house so she could say hello to him - after all it wasn't going to cost any extra! Rather than walk away from the computer to let him in, I took the laptop to the front door with me, so as he walked in the house she greeted him with a cheery "Merry Christmas!" The look on his face was priceless! The kids' great-great-aunt (in her 90's) was with him, and her reaction was complete discombobulation - at first she thought she was looking at herself, then she thought it was a video and finally asked "Is she answering me back?" Great-great-aunt is, as my mother-in-law used to say, a hot ticket and she commented later in the day that she'd love to live for another 90 years just to see what new technologies will come along.

It's really not that long since the idea of video phone calls was still pure science fiction, and now not only can we make video calls but with Skype they are free! I wonder what we'll be doing with technology when I'm in my 90s?

12 comments:

Stinking Billy said...

AA, I was enjoying quite a good Christmas until you mentioned that, erm, Skype (is it?)thing. That will be me left even further behind you all, with your Facebooks, Twitters and Skypes. But, Merry Christmas, anyway! ;-) x

Karen said...

The hubby got me a webcam for Xmas for my laptop. Can't wait to get up and running with skype so I can chat with friends and family back 'ome!

Mmm said...

Wow, that would be so cool. I don't thin any of my fam would ever figure out Skype. I've not used it myself but would if they would! So, I'm stuck with the phone and a calling card to the UK.

Hope you not only enjoyed your xmas but Bowing Day too. Do tell me you kept that!!

Almost American said...

Yes, we had a nice Boxing Day at home. No rushing out to the sales for us! We had some friends over in the afternoon.

Daffodilly said...

Don't you just love technology?

Glad you got to see all the clan.

Expat mum said...

Right, that's it. Everyone keeps telling my about this Skype and I always think it's going to be too technical. However, I'm not sure any of my lot in the UK are set up to do it with me.

Maddy said...

We're been using ichat [also have a mac] as does my mum and other relatives back home.

We had our first attempt with my mum on Christmas day as my brother was visiting them from China and able to guide them through.

My mum swears she'll never be able to manage it on her own but we're planning to practice every day whilst my brother is staying with them to get her up to speed.

I'm so glad I was born in this generation.

cheers and wishing you every happiness for 2009

Almost American said...

Expat mum - it's not that difficult really, though I wish my lot had Macs like Maddy's family. Apparently iChat doesn't work very well cross-platform, but Mac to Mac you can actually do 3-way video calls which would be great! Not much chance of persuading them to switch platform though (though some American relatives have done so recently.)

Billy - Skype is really pretty easy to use - it's not unlike using the phone, and if I call a landline rather than computer-to-computer it is much cheaper for me to call from the US to the UK like that than by using my phone.

CHEWY said...

Thanks for this post. I have been considering SKYPE, but my MAC iBook is too old and at home I'm still on dial-up. Might be time for a new MacBook with the built in wireless.

Anonymous said...

I am the mother who was 'walked' round the house via the web cam. be brave all you folk on the web....if I , a seventy something can master it so can you. It is wonderful to see children, grandchildren friends and so on. Saves a lot on travel costs too.

sablonneuse said...

It's amazing isn't it? My husband's daughter and son-in-law sent him and his other duaghter a webcam for an early Christmas present. They also bought one for their daughter who is starting at University. It's a wonderful way to keep in touch but i still have to help him use it. He says he was born to soon (1927) to get to grips with modern technology.

NFAH said...

I don't know how I would manage in the UK without skype and iChat (I use iChat when people have Macs like me or Skype when they don't). I would be so lonely without it! It's so great to be able to see people's faces and make "eye contact" while you are talking. My Dad and I have been debating the merits of buying a netbook for my 91 year old grandmother; we figure if we wrote out the instructions for her step by step she might just be able to manage. I had not realized my family was so tech-y compared to some of the comments here as we've been doing this for more than 2 years!

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