Category: Computers on TV

​Do You Use Skype or Face Time?

Why Use Skype?

Skype is an app that lets you connect with people using the video camera on your computer or mobile device.

Face Time does the same thing, but only works with Apple products. Even if you use Face Time, it’s a good idea to know how to use Skype as well. They are both very simple and easy to use and they are truly one of the best benefits of modern technology.

A friend of mine uses Skype to play checkers with her 9 yr. old grandson who lives out of state.

Parents use it to stay in touch with their children when they have to be away on business trips or vacations. They can read the children a bedtime story, watch them get tucked into bed, and throw them a kiss goodnight.

Several clients have had me show them how to use Skype for important job interviews. We practiced calling each other, chose the most flattering camera angle, picked the most attractive background, and discussed what to wear. It is so rewarding to see people gain confidence and be optimistic about getting the job!

Video chat is great for online dating and long-distance relationships too.

Businesses use Skype for video conferencing because they can have multiple people on a video call. They save a lot of money on air travel, hotels and meals.

On an internet enabled big screen TV, it can feel like you’re actually in the room with distant family members. You can even watch each other open Christmas presents!

On mobile phones, you can only use audio for group calls, but on your computer or internet enabled TV you can do video conference calls.

Skype also supports audio calls to traditional phones. Using Skype on your tablet or smartphone, you can call somebody on a regular telephone. This is really handy if you are traveling and don’t have access to phone service but do have access to wifi.

One of my clients who is retired from the Foreign Service, learned how to use Skype so he could stay in touch with his friends all over the world for free.

All of the features of Skype are free, except calling people on regular telephones. However, Skype phone calls are a lot less expensive than traditional long distance calls.

How to Use Skype

Skype is a free download from the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store and is already installed with Windows 10 and Window phones. (It’s owned by Microsoft.)

You need to have an account to use Skype. You can set up a free account or, if you already have a Microsoft account, you can just log in with that.

On iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and Android tablets, each version of Skype will look a little different but the functionality is the same. There are just a few minor differences on each device

When you login you will see three screens

  1. RECENT- shows the most list of people most recently talked to
  2. FAVORITES – shows the contacts you have marked as favorites
  3. PEOPLE – is your list of people you can call on Skype. They have to have an account also and they have to agree to be connected with you.

To Add a Contact

Search for the person in the Skype database. There are millions of people in the Skype database and lots of people with the same name…even unusual names. It’s amazing!

Therefore, the quickest and easiest way to find people is to search for their unique Skype name. Email address work sometimes too because there aren’t duplicates of those but it’s really easier to ask your person for their skype name.

When you find them, tap the button that says “add people.” Then tap “send a contact request.”

The person’s name will show up on your contact list but, they will not show up as online and accessible until they have accepted your request.

After they accept your request, you will be able to see their status next to their name, which lets you know when they are online for you to call them.

Note: some people leave the Skype app open all the time to receive calls. Other people text or email each other to set a time and then open the app. It depends on how often they use it.

To make a call

Select a contact and you will see buttons at the bottom of the screen. You can choose to do a video call or an audio call. They both work pretty much the same. Tap on the button for audio or video. The camera starts running right away so you can frame up your shot while you wait for the other person to pick up.

After you start talking, the buttons at the bottom of the screen will fade out of the way, but when you tap on the screen, they’ll pop up again.

You can mute and unmute your audio by hitting the mute button.

You can disable the camera by hitting the camera button if you want to talk and see them without them seeing you.

When you’re done, just hit the red hang up button.

To receive an incoming call

The app will make a sound and you will see a choice of buttons.

If you don’t want to answer a call, you can just hit the red button.

If you want to answer but only want to use audio, then hit the green button in the middle.

To see video and hear audio, hit the camera button.

To hang up, tap on the screen to bring up the controls and hit the red button

You can also use Skype to have a text chat.

On the screen, with a contact’s information, tap on the field that says “type a message”. Type and then hit the Send button. When he responds, you’ll see his response pop up.

Calling regular telephones

This feature is particularly useful when you’re traveling to a place where you won’t have a cellular phone connection, but you will have wifi.

This is called Voice Over IP, or VOIP. Using this feature, you can call a regular phone as long as you can connect to Skype on your mobile device.

This is the one feature that is not free but Skype is much less expensive than traditional long distance rates. To get an idea of the pricing options, check out their website. http://www.skype.com/en/

You can login to your Skype account on the website and add Skype credit to your account.

Or in the app on your mobile device, you can hit the “my account” button (top right), and there’s an option for “Skype credit”. This way, it’s an “in-app” purchase and it will be charged to your iTunes account or Play Store account. It will ask for your password for confirmation. Then hit “Buy”.

To make a call to a regular phone

At the bottom of the screen, there’s a dialer button and you can just dial a regular phone number. Also, there’s a button at the top that links directly to the address book on your device so you can find the person and tap on the number. When you hit the phone button at the bottom, it will dial. When he answers, you will be having a conversation just as if you were using a regular telephone. To hang up, just hit the red button at the bottom

Skype is a great app for video and audio calls because it runs on all mobile devices and computers no matter what platform. Group video calls are not available on mobile devices but video calls to individuals work.

I hope you will try this and enjoy it. If you need help, just let me know.

Please share this with your friends and relatives. Your referrals are the heart of my business and my mission is to help people more fully enjoy the many benefits of modern technology.

Thanks,

Mardi

See Your Computer on “The Big Screen”

Have you ever wished you could see your computer screen on a TV?  Would you like to see emails, web pages, photos slideshows, YouTube videos and movies on a big screen or display presentations for your business?

Well you can….and it can be pretty simple and inexpensive to set up.

The simplest method is Chromecast because you don’t have to know about ports and screen resolution settings.

chromeCast

A $35 Chromecast plugs into the TV and connects it to your Wi-Fi network. Then you can see video, images and pages from the Chrome web browser from any computer, smartphone or tablet that’s also on the network.  This is a very inexpensive solution and very easy to set up.  You can use Chromecast with a Mac too.  You will just need to use the chrome browser instead of Safari when connected to the TV.

If you want to see everything on your computer rather than just what’s shown in Google Chrome, you can do a direct connection.

DIRECT CONNECTION

There are four kinds of ports for direct connections.  HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI and VGA.

All newer TVs have HDMI, and that’s the one you ideally want to use because it supports HD (high definition).

Unfortunately, many computers don’t support HDMI

Computers that don’t have HDMI, will have either DVI or DisplayPort. If your computer has one of these, you can get an adapter to connect it to the HDMI port on your TV.

Inexpensive computers might have only VGA and it cannot do HD (high definition) images so you might want to use a better computer if you plan to stream movies online.

GETTING THE RESOLUTION RIGHT

Modern computers should be smart enough to figure out the right resolution, when you plug into a TV, especially if you’re using the HDMI port.

However, if you’re using an adapter or an older version of Windows, it might have to adjust the resolution.

Right-click on the computer desktop and select “Screen Resolution.” Select the TV and change the Resolution to 1920×1080 (unless you’re using a smaller or older TV, in which case it might be 1280×720).

You might be tempted to push the resolution higher, but don’t. Not only will it look terrible but a higher resolution actually makes everything on the screen look smaller.

video calls

PICKING A TV SIZE 

If you’re going to use a TV in a larger room, you want to make sure it’s easy to see. This handy chart will give you an idea of the size you’ll want based on the room length.

Distance Minimum size Maximum size
6 feet 24-inch screen 36-inch screen
8 feet 32-inch screen 48-inch screen
10 feet 40-inch screen 60-inch screen
12 feet 48-inch screen 72-inch screen

Even with a large TV, you might still have a hard time seeing smaller computer text from a distance. You can use CTRL + + (plus sign) in most programs to zoom in text and images. CTRL + – (minus sign) zooms back out, and CTRL + 0 (zero) resets the zoom. This is a great trick for watching on your regular computer monitor as well.

CONTROLLING THE COMPUTER

You can use a wired mouse and keyboard, but it’s more convenient to use a wireless mouse and keyboard so you can pass it around or give it to whomever is running a meeting in your office.

Be sure everyone knows how to turn off the mouse when it isn’t in use so you don’t waste the batteries. For business use, you might keep several on hand so you don’t have to interrupt a meeting to change batteries.

If you need help doing any of this, just call me for an appointment.  760-348-8867

If you have found this information helpful, please share it with others and encourage them to contact me to receive my Techie Tips on a regular basis.

Enjoy!

Mardi

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