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With Christmas coming and many going to see the family...the older folks....and many not going to see the family etc etc....I would like to suggest getting the far away loved one's who have a computer, hooked up with Skype.


Skype is totally free...that's *FREE* folks. All one needs is a camera but it is not necessary. I use either my mic in my camera...or the monitor has one or I also have a headset which is nice for privacy and no distractions.


The awesome thing is that you can call absolutely free and talk as long as you want....no charges.


I call my mother in South Africa, she is pushing 80 and has a computer....the call is totally free and we sometimes do the video, sometimes we just do an audio chat. So I save a fortune in long distance charges.


The signal is very clear, of course once in a while you get a drop out or other problem related to the satellite or just the sheer number of users.


I Skype several good friends across the US and it is awesome, plus my brother and other family. My 80 year old aunt has it and she will call me sometimes when she see's me online.


That is what is great too, you can set it so people on your contact list see when you are online and if they want they can call you. If you do not want to be bothered you can set your message as "away" or "busy" etc.


I have not had one single problem with mine...no creeps trying to get a hold of me etc....I have my prefs set to stop that.


So anyway....this is a great idea to bring our families and friends closer and close the communication gap...and a headset or webcam will make a nice stocking stuffer.


Just a thought.



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Yeah right have you met my techno phob parents!!!!, CD is still a mystery to them :) bless them, yes a good idea for the more technically aware family :)

But would not work with some of my family, no sir! (a bit of american thrown in ther for good measure as per other threads going on :) )


Love life, some twists and turns are more painful than others, but love life.....



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No special headset....I have a Logitech....but most computers have built in audio in's and out's don't they. My mom uses no headset.....just talks to the computer screen...I do the same sometimes...I don't like the headset on. But if I want privacy I can put it on.


I understand the techo challenged....but my Mom is almost 80, my around 80 year old neighbor has it, my 80 year old aunt in Canada has it etc etc etc


You see that is the thing.....my suggestion is when you go see them, install it for them and set it up so all they have to do is click on a button or two. Once they get the hang of it they will love it and especially the free calls plus they can see their grandchildren on it etc etc


This is a lovely way to bring our far away families closer......we have the technology and it is free...that is what is amazing.


The only requirement is a good fast connection. I figure it worth it to pay my mom's hi-speed internet so I can save on calls and also give her the pleasure of it.


Anyway, like I said it's just an idea...not everyone is going to go for it......but I think we underestimate the elderly sometimes...especially their desire to keep their brains active and enjoy different things.



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I used to use MSN for that. It came with the OS and was simple to use and really worked just as well. The problem I had was, my family lives in areas where they don't have high speed, so using a camera was out and to use the voice chat over a phone with Skype costs money. Turns out to be easier to just use the phone in that case.


Have you done any comparisons between MSN's voice chat and Skype's voice chat?

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Yeah I have been using Skype for a few years after my girlfriend told me about it. I really use it mainly for online gaming. It works alot better than Teamspeak and it is usually me and my other guitarist on the same team playing Unreal Tournament 2004 Onslaught mode.
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Hey for anyone wanting to save money on thier phone bill at home, this is an insane thing my buddy just told me about. It is like a thing that plugs into a USB on your PC. It has a phone jack in it. Then you just use whatever home phone you have lying around the house. They give a phone number and voice mail and it is only $40 a year for the first year and $20 a year thereafter. The quality is better than a normal landline. So far I see no weakness to this, other than the fact that you have to be online to talk on the phone.

I use a cell phone mainly but I am considering this because it is so cheap but for people who have a landline, they are spending TONS more per year than what this costs.

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