Category: Video

​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

Simple Fixes for Webcam Spying

Are you scared by all the news stories suggesting that hackers can spy on you through your computer and gadget cameras?

My mother has been really concerned about it and I understand how scary it can be.  It is almost overwhelming and really annoying when all these “advances” in technology bring new challenges and require more education!

You don’t need to worry though, I’m dedicated to calming your fears and giving you the information and help you need so you can relax and enjoy your toys again.

Despite the potential dangers, webcams are great tools for chatting long-distance with friends and family, and conducting  business.

When you understand how they work and how to secure them, you will feel much better and have more fun.  Enjoy!

Please help others by forwarding this to all your friends and relatives and encourage them to subscribe to my techie tips so they can be protected and have peace of mind also.  They can click right here to subscribe.  If you are into social media, you can use the sharing buttons provided. That will be a big help also. Thanks!

INTERNET-ENABLED CAMERAS  Internet Cameras

Internet-enabled security cameras and baby monitors are becoming more and more common because they are inexpensive and easy to set up.  These gadgets connect to your Wi-Fi network and they are a great way to keep an eye on kids, aging parents and your possessions.

However, many people don’t follow the directions when setting them up and leave the default username and password in place. Hackers have made it their business to know all the default login information for every gadget on the market.  If you don’t change the factory settings they could find your camera online, log in, and watch you or put you on a website with thousands of other cameras for curious snoops to browse.

Good News!
The solution is easy: just remember to change the default password when you set up any type of new gadget. If you buy a camera that doesn’t have a password, exchange it for a different model.

COMPUTER WEBCAMS  lamptop cam

Once hackers get on your computer, they can use programs to turn on your webcam without triggering alerts like the webcam light. Thus, covering or unplugging the camera when not in use is a good idea.

However, hackers could still have full access to your computer. They could rummage through your email, browser history, passwords, documents and anything else they want.

And, of course, when you do use the webcam, they can eavesdrop.

To get on your computer, hackers use a remote access tool, or RAT. That’s what tech support agents use to get on your computer remotely to change settings or fix a problem. Fortunately, remote access tools require your permission, so a person can’t just take control without your permission.

However, hackers have many ways to trick you into letting them on to your computer — fake email attachments, malicious links, Trojan viruses, and phony tech support calls.  Once you’re tricked into running a file, clicking a link, or inviting them on to your system, they can take control and do whatever they want.

More Good News!

The solution is pretty simple. Just avoid unsolicited email attachments and links, run up-to-date security software and don’t believe anyone who contacts you claiming to be tech support for a major company.

Operating systems on your computer may have a remote access tool (RAT) built in. This makes it easier for real tech support to get on your system, but it also makes it easier for a hacker to trick your system into letting them on.

To turn off Remote Assistance in Windows, go to Start>>Control Panel. In the Search box in the upper right corner, type “remote” and then click the “Allow remote access to your computer” link.

Uncheck the “Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer” option and click OK.

For Macs, go to the Apple icon and select System Preferences. Click the Sharing icon and uncheck Remote Login, Remote Management.

If you use a company laptop, it could have similar software on it. Companies are supposed to disclose the presence of that kind of software but they don’t always do it, so if it doesn’t belong to you, be mindful of what you do on it.

smartphone cameraTABLET AND SMARTPHONE CAMERAS

Tablets and smartphones also have cameras but I haven’t heard of any malicious apps or spying apps that can trigger the camera.  That doesn’t mean they don’t exist, or won’t exist in the future but I will let you know if that changes.

A word to the wise….if there is something you really don’t want the world to see, don’t put it on your smartphone or tablet.

If you have any questions or comments about this or if you have any suggestions for future tips, please post a comment below and let me know. I always love to know what you think and how I can help you. Thanks!

Video Calling Is Such Fun!

skypeHave you ever done video calling? It’s really fun and I’m finding that many of my clients use it to stay in touch with their children and grandchildren.

You can get loved ones together on the same group video call — in just a few clicks. You can even show your screen. It’s great for making travel plans, group decisions or sharing your holiday photos with everyone on the call. Whether you’re planning a party or just want to catch up with friends and family, group video calling lets you get together with everyone all at once — no matter where they are.

Last Christmas, I was visiting my daughter and her fiancé in Colorado and we opened gifts with his family in Texas via the Skype app on their big screen TV. It was so much fun…almost as good as being together in person. What a great way to bring families together! I highly recommend it.

The Skype app is free and can be downloaded to your computer and all your gadgets. The people you want to video call, have to have the app too and have to accept your invitation.  To see how it works on Skype Click here

If you use Apple products you can use Face Time. The people you call, must be Apple product users also so they can use the Face Time app. See how to do it

If you, and the people you want to video call, have gmail accounts, you can do video calls right from gmail, or you can use the free Google Hangouts app. See the instructions here

If you, or someone you know would like personal tutoring to learn how to do this, or if you want to invite a group of friends and learn together in a “Play Shop,” just let me know. Thanks!

Pre-purchase Consultation Questions

One of my services is consulting with people to help them choose the best computer or gadget for their individual needs.  So much frustration can be avoided by buying the right product in the first place, and I have already test-driven quite a few of them in order to pave the way for others to have a more pleasant experience.  See my previous posts for the gruesome details.  LOL

Here are the questions I use for my consultations.  Please forward this to your friends and relatives so they will have it when they are considering a computer or gadget purchase.   They will thank you for it.

1. What is your budget?

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

3. What screen resolution do you want?

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

5. How much battery life do you need?

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low, Medium or High)?

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, etc.)

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer, Blue Ray ROM/Writer, etc ?

12. Please tell me about the brands that you prefer and the brands that you don’t like and explain the reasons.

13. What country do you live in?

14. Please tell me any additional information if needed.

Additionally… you should consider available support options in your area. If you buy something abroad, will you be able to have it fixed near where you live? Does the warranty apply? How quickly do local accredited technicians fix laptops?

My New Video

I finally jumped in and made a video for you.  Hope you like it.

It’s on the “About” page also, so people you may want to refer, can get to know me a little bit.

Enjoy!     See Video

Your Can Save a Life

A friend sent me this and you must see it.

This is technology at its finest!  An inspiring and instructive video, the 911 system, a dispatcher coaching on a cell phone, the coolest automatic defibrillator gadget, and a life saved!  Brought tears of joy to my techie loving soul.  You have to see this Heart Rescue Video

My next thought was, “there must be an app for that,”and a little research revealed that indeed there is!

 

The App

 

It would be ideal if there were two or three people to help, one to look at app, one to do the work, and one to go get that that very cool defibrillator gadget!  But if the app inspires one person to call 911 quickly and try CPR instead of standing around in confusion and fear, then there is a better chance that lives will be saved.

Kudos to The Heart Rescue Project and the American Heart Association!

Make A Difference Movie

As a teacher, I could really relate with this story, but I’m sure everyone can also.  Watch Movie

What a little third grader says to his teacher at Christmas time instantly bypasses the head and goes straight to the heart of any issue, no matter what.  You can re-energize your personal relationships and workplace culture – and inspire greater loyalty – by remembering to put into practice the message of this classic, time honored story.   Make sure to turn on your speakers before you watch it, and according to Sam Brandt … “You should warn people to get their hankies ready before the movie!”  Walter Wood writes … “I am a 6 ft. 2in., 250-pound construction worker and this short, but profound, film actually brought tears to my eyes.  It made me realize that I must be more mindful when I’m training my apprentices.”  Each time I watch it I feel inspired to make an even bigger difference by remembering to put compassion first.  I hope you will too!  Don’t forget to share it with others…They’ll thank you for it!  Together we can make a difference…

Watch Movie

Extend Your Smart Phone Battery

 
 
The tips in the video above apply to all smart phones.  She has additional tips for iPhones in this article:  http://www.komando.com/toolbox.aspx?mode=print&id=12719
If this is all too technical and makes your eyes glaze over and your brain lock up, just call me for help. 
In Joy,
Mardi

So dad, how do you like the iPad we got you?

Have you seen this?     http://www.wimp.com/dadipad/

My sister sent it to me and it’s a hoot. (Actually it kind of hurt–you know how I love the gadgets.)

But seriously, if you gift someone an iPad and can’t show them how to use it, gift them some computer tutoring to get them started. It doesn’t take long, and they will love you for it.

What Was Life Like Before YouTube?

You know how passionate I am about the joys of technology.

Well, this will make your heart sing.

What was life like before YouTube?

Let’s Dance!

A tribute to the joy of dance…it’s a wonderful thing.
Song is “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.
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