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
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