It’s easy to complain about technology. It’s so integrated into our day to day lives that it’s a real pain when something goes wrong. When something does break and I have to work on getting it fixed it never fails to surprise how much work and behind the scenes effort goes into making sure even the smallest things work right. At times like that I end up wondering how so much of our world works as well as it does since there are so many moving parts behind the scenes.
It’s not all complaints though. Every now and then, for no apparent reason, I get struck by just how cool and useful some of these little technological details are. I’m going to try and memorialize some of those little things, so I see this as an intermittent ongoing series of posts. It’s also a good way to put an exclamation point on how old I suddenly am.
Anyway, today’s ‘Ain’t technology grand?!’ moment is video chatting. More specifically, Apple’s version of video chat, which is called Facetime. Video phones have been a sci-fi staple as long as I can remember. The technology has always seemed easily reachable and teenage and twenty-something me often wondered why they weren’t around yet. (Thirty-something me figures it’s a social or cultural issue.)
I picked up an iPhone back in October when the newest model came out and my dad and brother both ‘went Mac’ around the same time. So we quickly realized we can use video chat to let the twins talk to their grandparents and their cousins. They have a lot more interaction with their cousins than I did at their age because they can see them on the little screen. We used it so I could sit in on bath time last week even though I was three states away and so the twins could talk to their mama at home when I took them to grammy’s for the weekend.
I realize Facetime isn’t really the same thing as a videophone. It does require an internet connection. It’s just another version of Skype and the other types of internet video chat that have been around for awhile. I was never a great believer in those because I didn’t want to be tethered to my desktop or carry a laptop around. Now that it has slimmed down to the point it can be used in a truly mobile application it’s going to really become common.
You may want to use Facetime with family and close friends though. The iPhone front facing camera is guaranteed to make into a troglodyte (with the exception of dogs and small children, obviously).