Keeping in touch FREE video conferencing via Skype and cheap international phone calls.
MA Bell (AT&T) introduced videophones at the 1939 World’s Fair and also the one in 1964, both of which let you view a series of images of the person on the other end of the call.
In 1939 Germany actually build a videophone system.
All those and other attempts to sell people on using a videophone were complete flops. The technology was expensive, the pictures weren’t very good, and people just didn’t see the need.
Now we have Skype, a program that almost everyone already has on a laptop or desktop computer.
But you may not know you have it, or don't understand how useful it is.
Skype comes pre-loaded on many computers, especially laptops with WiFi, cameras and microphones (BTW, be careful of those,hackers can turn on your camera and mike remotely so put a piece of opaque tape over the camera lens, probably a dot above the top center of your screen.)
If your didn’t come with Skype, fear not, it is a free download from (wait for it) yes, www.skype.com.
You install it and if your computer is not already equipped, buy a camera, headphone, and microphone which can cost about $10 too and they work well.
The just plug into a USB port and once connected Skype will walk you through configuration.
Right then you could place a videophone call to anyone in the world who also has Skype.
But if you add a bit of money (just a few dollars or equivalent) to your account which was set up when you picked your Skype name, and you can also call regular phones either for a few dollars a month, or at a low per-minute cost, you just don’t have video.
There are other added features but if you only want to virtually attend a baby shower (Beth is doing so next month and did so for Thanksgiving last year) or direct a worker, friend, or family member with a remote task where they have a portable Skype capable device such as an Amazon Kindle HD and you use your account to monitor and direct their actions.
I do this with some helpers because I am mostly confined to a wheelchair.