When it comes to connecting with loved ones, you make the call

Technically Speaking

The holidays are traditionally known as a time to get together with your loved ones, but what if you just can't find a way to get together? Even though you may not be able to be together in person, technology is now offering us ways to connect with friends and family in a more personal way through video calling.

In the past, if you couldn't be there on the holidays, you could still pick up the phone and have a nice long phone conversation. With the recent explosion of smartphones and tablet computers that come with video cameras on the market, it is now easier than ever to make that call more personal by adding face-to-face video calling through the likes of Skype, Apple's Facetime or Google's Video Hangouts feature.


Skype has been around for a while now. It started off as a computer alternative to traditional phone calls, but has now become a top player in the video calling field. The nice thing about Skype is that you can use it on a wide range of phones, tablets and computers. It has apps or software for Apple computers and devices, Android tablets and smartphones, or Windows based computers and devices. To make a call, both sides just need to have the Skype app for their phone or tablet or the Skype software on their computer as well as a camera which is fairly standard on most phones and computers.

Apple's Facetime

If you and those that you want to stay in touch with have an Apple device, making a video call couldn't be any easier than using Apple’s video calling service, Facetime. Using an iPads and iPod Touches, you just need to know their AppleID account name and you can make a video call to that person. On these devices, however, Facetime works over Wi-Fi so both of you will have to have a Wi-Fi connection. On an iPhone, it is slightly different. You can use the AppleId or phone number of the person you are calling. Originally, this too was a Wi-Fi only service, but recently some cellular carriers are now letting iPhone users make Facetime calls over their cellular networks, so be careful because data charges will apply.

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