After two weeks living apart from my family we’ve had the chance to test out different ways of staying connected before they make the move out to Colorado.
This is the obvious one but we actually haven’t used Skype since the westward move. We did use it during a trip to Germany last fall when I went to Eurobike and it did the job, though my internet connection in Germany made the video quality poor at times. We haven’t used it recently only because video chat is available in platforms that we are already in – primarily Gmail and XBox.
Google Video Chat
We are definitely a Google household and regularly use Docs, Calendar, Reader, Photos, Videos, Maps, Gmail and Chat (it’s actually a little scary to think about how much information we have on Google servers!). Since we have video capability in both Colorado and New Hampshire, and we are in Gmail so much, its just easier to request a video chat right from Gmail rather than open up Skype.
XBox Kinect Video Chat
Not only is XBox Kinect a blast to play games on, it also has the ability to do video chat. There is a cool feature that automatically follows you around the room. However, we’ve found that the auto feature is tough to manage when there are two or more people in the room. Still, the video and audio quality are great and the larger coverage area (vs a web cam) has allowed me to do some great things like see my son’s school projects when he holds them up to the Kinect unit.
XBox Live Gaming
I’ve been able to play NBA Live 2010 against my Son from 2,000 miles away and talk over our headsets at the same time. Of course he kicks my butt every time but I’m slowly getting better. Next on the game list is Call of Duty so I can be further humiliated by him!
Colorado is an incredibly beautiful place and as I explore new places we are able to easily share pictures and video in real-time.
My friends and family are able to see what I’m doing on a regular basis through the sharing I do on Facebook and Twitter. Whether it is my Foursquare check-ins or cool stuff going on at Peaksware, the information i share frequently becomes the topic of conversation on phone and video calls.
Being apart from my family is no fun – but the technology we are leveraging is making 2,000 miles seem a little bit closer.
Any other ideas for tools to use?