Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Aging in Place

On Wednesdays, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.


With Video Chatting --
It's a Small World Afterall

There are a lot of video chat alternatives. Here are just a couple of them from the Mossberg Solution that shows how we can keep in touch with our family and friends around the block or around the world.

Skype Worth the Hype

Skype is a free program that must be downloaded onto your Windows PC or Mac. Users can create accounts with profile details about themselves including a photo and biographical information; these data can be set as visible to anyone or just authorized friends. Skype works for text chatting and voice-only chatting, as well as video chatting. One of the best features in Skype is its ability to let you share whatever is displayed on your computer screen with someone else by selecting a Share option. This comes in handy as a substitute for uploading numerous large files to a third-party service to share them with friends and family, especially if one party is traveling and has a slow connection. My sister and I use this remote access to share photos with each other, narrating as we share slide shows from our computers. Though some images appear a bit pixelated because of her weaker Internet connection, I get the point.

With Skype, users can put one video chat on hold to answer another one, like call waiting. This comes in handy for people who have several friends trying to talk to them at the same time when they're online.

Video Chat via Google

Google Video Chat can be downloaded if someone has a Gmail account. This video-chatting capability is an add-on for the Google Chat instant-messaging program, which runs in the Gmail home page or in iGoogle, so a Web browser must be opened to access this. Friends who are capable of video chatting (because they have a Webcam) are indicated with a small video-camera icon beside their names, and video chats can be initiated by opening options in the Video and More menu of a chat window.

Google Chat users who have AIM accounts can sign into AIM within the Google Chat program, combining all their friends into one neat list. I started using this feature the first time it was offered and can't remember the last time I opened AIM as a standalone program.

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