Bridging the Miles with Technology

Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

I’s not easy being so far away, but at the same time, thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to be so far away either.

With cell phones and the Internet it’s easy to talk, text chat and share photos and other information with people. I even have a wishlist courtesy of Amazon so people who no longer get to see me every day can have a better idea of what I’m interested in lately, which is not usually something that is the topic of everyday conversation. As the “tech guy” I can also use remote support solutions to hop onto peoples computers from across the country to help fix their printer or some other computer issue. Perhaps I’ll have more on that at some future point.

More importantly though, I’ve taken to Skype* (and now also Google Talk thanks to them finally supporting Linux) to do video calls  and if you don’t already have a webcam and you have a friend or family member that are far away, you and them really and I do mean REALLY, need to get one for each of yourselves.

For anywhere between $20-$100 bucks (depending on the features and quality you want) you can have a live face to face conversation irregardless of distance and it’s amazing how much our communication relies on non-verbal things. Being able to see one another is an incredibly invaluable thing and now that it’s 2010 going on 2011, it’s silly not to set yourself up for video if you talk with someone at a distance with any regularity. Best of all, regardless of whether you use Skype, Google Talk or some other service, for consumer level services such as those it’s free to use so all you have to pay for is your web camera.

As an added bonus, now that the cell phones have become “smart” we can do all of the above from pretty much anywhere we find ourselves… well, the two-way video isn’t quite there yet, but it’s getting closer and is perhaps less than a year out.

So while I can’t be there physically, I’m really enjoying the next best thing which is to be there with the help of technology. I mean, how cool is it that someone can mail you birthday presents and can then watch you open them and intimately share in that experience with you even though you are 3,200 miles away? Pretty darn cool I say!

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*Interestingly, while Skype-to-Skype calls, including video are still free, Skype’s rates for calling out to regular phones just went up from $30/year to $36/year even though Google is now venturing into the VOIP business and is actually letting people call out to regular phones for free right now. Perhaps they are just hopping to grab what money they can while they can before Google starts eating their lunch so they can make themselves that much more profitable looking to investors with their upcoming IPO plans.

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~ by ghendar on September 18, 2010.