My daughter hadn’t seen my daddy, Grandpapi, for over a year. In the last two days, they’ve had two short visits — two video calls between South Carolina and California — for FREE — on Skype.
For those first calls, we used the Logitech notebook camera and the laptop I’d brought with me on the plane. But I have to go home eventually, so I was determined to get him set up on his own computer. So this morning we set him up. Total cost: $1. That’s right, one dollar.
Daddy’s retired, and makes a regular pilgrimage down to the local thrift shop, scavenging for computer gear and other goodies. They have a can’t-be-beat return policy: If it doesn’t work, bring it back, and get your money back. He puts together the parts and makes computers for his retired friends who don’t want to shell out the bucks — or risk buying the “wrong” computer. One trip he’d picked up a microphone and a USB cameras for a buck.
So we plugged in the microphone, plugged in the camera, downloaded Skype, and ran a few tests Skype includes with the software. Voila! Lights, camera, action! Now my daughter will get to see Grandpapi as often as she can see her Granddad and Grandmum in Wales (They aren’t online, so we use a TV videophone for those calls). And I’ll get to see my daddy as much as my husband sees his dad! No plane tickets or vacation time required!
So if you live a long way from your family, run down to your local thrift shop and spend a buck. Or shell out big bucks at a big box store ($30+ for a Logitech USB camera with a built-in to microphone). If your folks are online, spend a few minutes of your vacation getting them set up.
When you get home, you can look forward to seeing their friendly smiling faces, not just the colon-dash-paren kind they send you in e-mail.
Whenever I see your smiling face
I have to smile myself
Because I love you!
Yes, I do.