Sara’s Tech Tips: How To Connect (For Free!) Via Sykpe

September 30, 2010 at 3:54 pm , by

sara _0079The holidays are about being with family, but sometimes the miles between loved ones makes it impossible to be together in person. Whether you have a son or daughter studying abroad or a family member who moved across the country, Skype makes it possible to bridge the gap. Skype is a free video conference service that allows you to talk—and see each other—when meeting up in person isn’t an option. And it’s easy too! All you need is a computer, internet connection and web cam (many computers made within the past few years have built in cameras). Follow the steps below and you will be chatting in no time.

skype1. Download Skype from their official website. Select “get skype” at the top of the screen and follow the prompts. When you get to the “download now” screen, you will see options on the right side of the screen to pick the version for your operating system.

2. Once you have the program, when you open it for the first time it will prompt you to create an account or sign in. It’s a super-quick process to create an account, so go ahead and do that and then continue.

3. Now that you’re set up, you need to find someone to Skype with! If family members or friends already have accounts, search for them by going to the “contact” tab and clicking the button to add new contacts. Search by either email address or phone number and then once you’ve found your friend or family member, add them. If the person you want to call doesn’t have an account, have them complete the first two steps too.

4. You’re all set to make a call! The person on the other end needs to be there with their computer on, so it’s often a good idea to set a time you’ll be Skyping so you make sure to catch them. When you’re ready to go, just select the person in your contact list and hit “call!” Happy (video) chatting!

Staying Connected: The Best Gift of All

January 7, 2010 at 10:08 am , by

Picture 1Ah, the holidays. That time of year when you gather together with your family and share some holiday cheer. But what if your family lives far away? My husband’s little sister lives in Florida, so we’ve never been able to spend Christmas with her. And believe me, she would love to see her nieces tear open their gifts. So this year, with the help of a little technology, we were able to make that happen.

It was Christmas morning and the girls had been up since 7:00 am. Squeals of Disney Princess joy were filling my parent’s living room. And then we got the best gift of all—the gift of being together. Without anyone knowing, my husband had sneaked away to call his sister on Skype, right before the girls opened their gifts from Aunt Paola. There was Aunt Paola right on the screen wearing a Santa hat! Pablo was even able to put the laptop on the floor so his sister could watch Sophia open the Barbie Glamour Camper that she sent. It was like she was really there—a perfect Christmas moment.

So, tell me: How did technology bring you closer to your loved ones this holiday season?

(Photo by me using my new techy Christmas present, a Nikon D5000!)