October 22, 2012

Skype Is Big at Our House. How About Yours?

Saturday Mornings at Our House
On most Saturday mornings here, it's Skype time. Nimesh and Bhawana get on their laptops, launch the Skype software, and make calls to their families. These aren't regular phone calls; with Skype, participants on the calls also SEE one another during the conversations.

Nimesh and Bhawana usually make the calls using a laptop on our dining room table. So, on my way to and from the kitchen for Saturday morning coffee, I often stop to say "Namaste" to whoever has shown up for the call. Sometimes it's Nimesh's mother and father in Kathmandu, or his sister Sona in Australia, or his brother Ritesh and his wife Salina in China. I've known Nimesh's family for 10 years, so we're all old friends.

A few Saturdays ago, Nimesh had the inspired idea of using both his and Bhawana's laptops, plus a full-length mirror positioned on the dining room table. With that creative arrangement, Nimesh engineered a three-way DC-Australia-China conversation. Here's a photo he took of the event:

I couldn't resist joining in:


Skype for Seniors and Their Offspring
I haven't tried the Skype software myself, because I'm fortunate to have my two kids, three grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters all living in the Washington-Baltimore area. But most of my contemporaries aren't so lucky; their children and grandchildren are scattered all over the place.

I get the impression that very few of us have learned to use Skype, even though it could really enhance communications with far-flung relatives and friends. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, maybe now is the time to give it a try.

It's fairly simple to set up. (Sure, I hear some of my pals saying, "If it's all THAT simple, Schappi, why haven't you done it yourself?")

Skype How-To
Here's what you'll need  to get started:
  • Computer, smartphone or tablet device.
  • Downloadable Skype software.
  • Skype accounts for both you and the person you're calling. If it's your kids or grandkids, chances are they're already on board.
  • Camera, either built into your device (likely these days) or connected by web cam.
  • Microphone, either built in or connected to your device.
If you use Skype only for one-to-one video calls, it's free.

Here's a helpful video from Skype: 

Then Maybe You Can Make a YouTube Sensation Like This


Sona said...

Unreal, isn't it? Thank you for sharing John. :) This shows how important it is for us to be tech-savvy in today's world. It makes everything easier and the whole wide world so small and approachable. These days distance doesn't matter, with the technology it almost doesn't exist. It's the voice that touches the soul anyway :)

It's always a pleasure to have you around for small talks and jokes we shoot out for a merry day ahead or sweetdreams at my end :) I hope we are not intruding your coffee time by showing our beautiful faces on Saturday Mornings to make it Fine ;) Take care!

gleeson1929 said...

Near the top of the list of the many things I love about Nepal and its people is the emphasis on family values and the Thapa family epitomizes that. I hope one of these years you'll all be back together in Nepal to celebrate Dashain together. But until then Skype-away. Happy Dashain Sona.

Gerald Sweitzer said...

I have never got Skype to work right. Gave up on it & when Microsoft says you have Outlook or another Microsoft product, that was the last straw.
I use Google Hangouts & Google chat only. Much better than Skype