Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009

On the difficulties of Video Chat

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We just (and by just I mean yesterday) got an iPad. I saved up my pennies, and after a bit of convincing on my husband’s part, placed an order for one. Get one while we can afford it, ya know. I’ve never purchased anything this soon after it was released. I did try buying it locally, but no one and I mean no one, has any in stock…unless I want to try to get there right when the store opens on the off-chance that they get a shipment.

I ordered mine from Apple instead and was pleased when it came three days ahead of schedule. They shipped it directly from China (watching the tracking info from UPS as my package went from China to Hong Kong to Alaska before making it to the lower 48 was intriguing) and it reached here in relatively little time. I’ve been working ever since to try to get a feel for it.

I’ve found lots of really helpful iPad apps that we can use for homeschooling as well as the kids’ favorite games. We employ what you’d call a “stalking” method when it comes to our purchases. We might shop several stores (or the Apple Store several times) for a lengthy period of time before we’re ready to make a purchase. The kids had already familiarized themselves with the iPad before we had even purchased one and were sure to let me know that I needed to get “their” games right away. By far, though, their favorite thing to do now that we have our own is to use Vtok to call my parents and video chat. We’d all really like to use FaceTime, but at this point we’re the only ones with an iPad (or iPod Touch).

Vtok works in conjunction with Gmail’s video chat program. It works quite a bit like a cell phone in that you “call” the other party only you use their email address instead of their phone number. You don’t have to use video, which I suppose would be helpful for talking to family and friends who live across the country, but don’t have a webcam.

The technology is not the hard part…getting the kids to sit still (or accurately follow them around) so that the person we’re calling can see something other than their noses…or eyes…or the ceiling is what plagues us most. I’m not brave enough to let the wiggle worms hold it themselves.

I can tell that even though my parents just live across town we’ll be calling them often. We’ve got plans to call my sister that lives out-of-state at some point in the near future and my husband has already been assigned to call his parents to see if we can set something up with them. Suddenly the world just got quite a bit smaller.

Oh, and for the record, the iPad, like all of Apple’s products, has surpassed the hype. I’ve read where others say that it has revolutionized their lives…That’s not hype either…it really has changed the way we do things…already!

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2 thoughts on “On the difficulties of Video Chat

  1. Really neat feature. How cool to talk with you via my computer. 🙂