The View From 32


SEPTEMBER 1, 2007  


Looking at Sharon & kids in laptop monitor via iChatToday we had all the Cleveland-based grandkids & parents in the house after eating barbequed chicken & hot dogs, so we decided to try connecting to the New Hampshire-based grandkids via Apple iChat.

After a little confusion at first when no one showed up in my Buddy List—thus no one to chat with—I tried something else and it worked. Sharon's name appeared on the list along with others, apparently anyone who's registered with AOL Instant Messenger.

A couple more clicks and we had live video and audio. I'd like to say I know exactly what I did to get things working, but I can't. I'm pretty sure I could fumble my way through it again, and eventually I 'll figure it out.

It was pretty noisy with two little kids and two adults at one end and three kids and four adults at the other. Combined with the tinny sound of the laptop speakers it was hard to hear what was being said. But it was fun to watch.

I'm not as enthused about this as the rest of the family, but then I've always preferred letters to phone calls, too. You can argue that seeing and hearing someone via video is more "real," and I won't disagree. But letters seem more personal. Email is somewhere in between.

I remember clearly how the letters Sharon wrote while in Denmark for her junior year of high school made me feel closer to her than any phone call. We "talked" about things that we rarely discussed in person. Letters were (are) more leisurely and thoughtful. I appreciate the phone and iChat, but I miss the letters.

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