Skype, FaceTime, Fring, Tango, Movicha are all applications available to make video calls, and there are others. Which Application or app is best for you? Apple’s Macintosh computers offer the application called FaceTime to make video calls to other Mac computers, and to an iPad or iPhone. You need an Apple ID and email address to make video calls using FaceTime. All new apple products come with the FaceTime application already installed so unless you have an older device you will not have to download the FaceTime video call app.
FaceTime has the limitation that it cannot be used to make video call to devices that are not Apple products. Unlike Skype which can be used with most computers, including Apple computers, FaceTime is only compatible with Apple devices. FaceTime is also limited to making calls over Wi-Fi or cellular, this limits where you can make calls. At this time group calls are also not possible with FaceTime. Most FaceTime users agree that it is very easy to use and the video quality is usually great, so FaceTime is a good app for users of Apple Products.
Many computers, that are not Apple products come with the Skype app installed. The big advantage of Skype is that you can call any computer with Skype including Apple computers. If you don’t have Skype installed you can quickly download the app to your computer or telephone by going to www.skype.com. Be sure that you are on the official Skype website when downloading this app.
Another advantage of Skype is that you can make group calls. While on a video call with any contact, you can add another contact-Skype says up to ten contacts. This is an especially nice feature when
celebrating holidays and other special occasions with family members that are in several different locations. Skype requires that you have their Premium Membership to make group calls.
Skype, Fring, Tango and Movicha all allow you to make video calls between Apple
and Android devices. When selecting an application to make video calls you need to consider the type of devices – phone, tablet and computer you have, as well as the type
of devices that the people you want to call have.
If all your calls are to other Apple devices FaceTime is fine. However, if you will be calling others who do not have Apple devices you will want to consider Skype or one of the other applications.
One in five computer users are believed to have some hearing loss. Add the large number of aging boomers to the mix and those needing assistance with hearing while using a computer is likely to rise.
Video call is helpful for those with hearing problems as it allows for face-to-face contact, lip reading and sign language. Winks, smiles and other facial gestures, which can be seen with video call, are helpful in understanding speech. With Skype, ichat or
FaceTime, students and adults can communicate easily with sign language.
The quality and volume of sound can be adjusted on computers and hand held devices such as phones. On computers look for the speaker button located on the task bar – often on the bottom of your screen. When you click on this icon the volume mixer should open, or you may have to select it, but it looks similar to the picture on the right. You can raise or lower the volume of your speakers using the slide bar on the volume mixer.
Skype has a great feature where you can make a test call to check your computer speakers and quality of the sound. In your Skype contacts you will see Echo/Sound Test or Skype Test Call. Once you see the test button double click on it and it will bring up the sound test window. If you click on the green call button you can start the test. You will be asked to record a short message. When you stop speaking your will be able to hear your voice recording played back and hear the quality of the sound.
The sound can also be improved for some with a headset – speakers worn right on the ears. Some headsets plug into the computer, others are wireless. There is a wide range of hearing assistive features that are available with all computer products. You can search online on the following sites for some great ideas for hearing accessibility:
At a recent book club meeting my friend Karen approached me with a concern that her daughter-in-law was not too keen on video calls. “I think that after the first fifteen minutes they just don’t seem that interested in continuing the call. Do you think we should make the calls shorter?” Karen solved her own problem.
Young children and busy, or tired parents often enjoy short calls at a time that works best for their schedule. New parents are often exhausted from sleepless nights and busy days caring for their children. Attention spans of young children are short.
With our own children we often let them initiate the call when the time is right for our grandchildren. Your video call will be welcomed and more enjoyable for all if you keep it short and let the parent determine the best time to call.
Contact me and share your video call ideas
Video calling with a newborn to one-month-old baby is a wondrous experience. You begin this new relationship by connecting with sound.
Baby’s distance vision is limited and will take several months to develop. However, the newborn’s sense of hearing is well developed as the baby has been listening to sounds inside the womb for many months. Parents’ voices are recognized, as are the voices of others who are frequently around the baby or who were often with the pregnant mother.
In the Yale Child Study Center’s Guide to Understanding Your Child, the authors tell us how important sound is to babies. After birth, a baby is more likely to recognize his father’s voice if he talked to the baby while it was still in the womb!
Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings can begin a relationship with video calling so that the baby will also recognize their voices, even if they are not with the baby frequently.
High tones and gentle sounds are preferred–avoid deep and loud sounds, which may frighten the baby. Adults often use high tones when talking to babies, so a little gentle talk from you will sound just right at this early stage.
Because the baby’s skin is sensitive, the person who is with the baby should hold and stroke the baby during the video calling session so that the baby connects a loving touch with the sound of your voice.