Yesterday I showed my parents around our apartment. Last week I saw my whole family, and my husband met my littlest niece, 2 year old Isabella, for the first time. And we didn’t get on an airplane or even leave our place.


Sending my parents the Skype Freetalk Buddycam for Christmas was the best idea EVER.

As Mama Bella and I gazed at each other yesterday, we agreed — the future is here, and it is amazing.

In case you’re new to Skype, allow me to rave for a minute. If you and your friend have both downloaded Skype, you can talk for FREE. If you both have video cameras, you can have video phone calls for FREE.

Compared to the exorbitant international phone bills we’ve managed to accumulate through the years I’ve been away, this is like a godsend.

The Skype BuddyCam has its flaws — picture quality isn’t the best, and as my mom said yesterday, “the little man doesn’t want to stand up!” (LOL! That don’t even sound right) — the camera can be difficult to position. Also, even on Skype calls in the US sometimes calls get dropped or you may lose audio and/or video. That’s just par for the course, and you can redial instantly to continue the phone call. But so far, so great. Despite what they say, my parents aren’t the most technologically savvy folks out there. So the fact that my dad is able to connect this camera and call me is amazing. If my mom is eventually able to figure it out on her own, I’ll be shouting that from the rooftops. For now I’m just willing to settle for small miracles.

If you’re like me and live far away from those you love the most — you need Skype in your life. Click here to learn more about it, and click here to check out the range of cameras available. I think this upcoming Christmas, I’m gonna upgrade my parents to the Logitech Quickcam. That is, once my mom’s managed to figure it out herself.

Do you Skype? What’s been your experience so far? Do you love it?

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Frugalista says:
January 12, 2010, 11:13 am
I Skype for work and for home. A lot of news stations use Skype to conduct interviews instead of paying for fiber. I've done about three interviews with Skype. I also use it to talk to my niece who lives several states away. Sometimes, I must admit, it catches an attitude. But I still love it.
BK says:
January 12, 2010, 11:20 am
I have to admit.. I LOVE IT.. we get to speak to family "face 2 face" more often :)
heaven says:
January 12, 2010, 11:48 am
I don't get the skype hype. I've been using Yahoo messenger and MSN to make free video calls for several years.
MommyMel says:
January 12, 2010, 11:59 am
I love Skype. It was a wallet lifesaver while my daughter was overseas. Heck, I've used while she was home in her room and me in mine and was feeling quite lazy! I think it's one of the best things out there!
E-Fresh says:
January 12, 2010, 12:11 pm
I prefer Yahoo and MSN. Internet video / talk is def cool especially now living overseas.
BlackBetty says:
January 12, 2010, 12:56 pm
Oh how I love Skype. I can talk to my friends and family all over the world for free. The best thing is that it's fully encrypted so you don't have to worry about anyone getting a hold of your personal/private info.
swissmiss says:
January 12, 2010, 1:50 pm
I have been using Skype for over 2 years now!! It has allowed me to keep close with many friends that I have met abroad!! IT IS THE BEST!!! Also, you can call phones and send text messages using skype. I used skype to call home (meaning the landline house phone) everyday when I studied in china because my mom isn't so tech savvy (although now she has the skype buzz too!). The calls and texts messages to people abroad are cheap...much better than using a phone card. Afrobella, your just now catching the skype wave? I wish I would've put you on sooner!!
bella says:
January 12, 2010, 1:58 pm
Hey Swissmiss! No, I've been hip to Skype for about a year, but i just managed to teach my parents how to use it - which is what inspired the post!! My mom is a bit of a technophobe, so this has felt like an accomplishment!
Lisalis says:
January 12, 2010, 2:29 pm
This is wonderful! I've heard of Skype but I've never given it much thought before your post. How do I email your post? Thanks, Lisalis
Mskaos says:
January 12, 2010, 3:39 pm
LOVE Skype. My hubby was the first to use it; he has a business partner in China with whom he uses Skype for calls exclusively. Our phone bill would be astronomical consdering they could be on the phone for 2-3 hours at a time, easily! It took me a while to have a reason for it, but I first started using Skype when I was planning our destination wedding. Now I use it even within the states for the video feature mostly....esp for big moments like birth of a new baby, etc. who it may be months before I'll be able to see in person. There have been a lot of dropped calls and temporary loss of connection here along the way, but the benefits far outweight the inconvenience of redialing!
Roz says:
January 12, 2010, 4:08 pm
I used skype to call my sister in Australia, phone to phone, cell phone to house phone. I love it. It's way cheaper than anything else. I'm trying to get her husband to set it up on their computer so we can talk for free.
pets says:
January 12, 2010, 4:10 pm
Any means of free and easy overseas communication with the bonus of visibility of participants is most appreciated! Loved "seeing" you over the holidays sis.
swissmiss says:
January 12, 2010, 4:52 pm
Afrobella, Oh that's great!! It's always a GOOD DAY when the parents get on board with the technology! Makes life much easier!
Pat says:
January 12, 2010, 7:10 pm
Hi Afrobella, I use skype daily to talk to my boyfriend overseas. It has its issues occasionally, but is so much cheaper than phone cards that it's worth it for us. But, I think that a USB mike is even more important to the Skype experience than a webcam.
Shones says:
January 12, 2010, 11:47 pm
I use gmail's video chat on a fairly regular basis to chat with friends and to see our godchildren. An added bonus -- it prompts me to pay extra attention to my facial expressions and posture. Not okay to look bored or distracted when you're on the "phone" with your loved ones!
dee says:
January 13, 2010, 1:54 pm
I'm with E-Fresh. My yahoo webcam and calling works just fine for me.
Dad says:
January 13, 2010, 9:10 pm
Your Mom and I are quite hip on the technology - doh get tie up. I am sure we can teach you a thing or two. Doh test us. Right? We were coming up to show you how to position the man, but since you tried to dis us, we change our minds. Doh ask us again, cool? Love anyway, D
Nerd Gril says:
January 14, 2010, 10:28 am
I love Skype! My parents, brothers and I all live in different states. Skype has been wonderful in allowing us to "see" each other more often. My mom is so hip to the game, that when they were in Chile and Argentina we got to "tour" a little bit with them as she showed us some of their surroundings. Love it!
Plus Miss says:
January 18, 2010, 5:35 pm
I loveeee Skype! My siblings live in another country so I use it to keep in touch. The picture/sound quality isn't too bad and it's a lot cheaper than calling cards


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