The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Combining My Laptop's Skype and the iPad's Email for Meeting Success

No Skype on this classic ...
As someone who grew up reading science fiction, I have a deep interest and strong appreciation for technology. I'm not a first adopter, but when I get there I jump in with both feet and start tinkering. The other night, I combined two systems, my laptop's Skype communications program [+ web cam ... if you've got one you'll likely have both] (are you old enough to remember the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and the scene where Dr. Heywood Floyd calls home from the Pan Am shuttle (or the circular space station, I forget which ... come on geeks, give me a hand here, which is it) on a video phone? This is like that on your laptop, but without the fee at the end of the call. I had used two different email addresses to send myself a PDF file I wanted to reference during the meeting. I referenced it on my iPad directly from the email.

During the conversation, I was recommending a program a colleague and I might deploy. We discussed the options, reviewing material I'd sent previously. I recommended a book, and held it up to the screen so my colleague could get the title. She asked for a copy of the PDF file I'd referenced near the end of the meeting and within seconds I'd forwarded her the email I'd sent myself on the same iPad I'd used to read it. Before the conversation ended, she had the material and our call was a success.

Nice use of modern technology, including a surprise with the emailed PDF form. I'd not intended for it to serve any other purpose than to put information at my finger tips. However, since I'd emailed it to myself to get it uploaded to the iPad without needing to physically link the iPad and the laptop, it was ready to go when my colleague asked for that copy. The whole thing was both efficient and enjoyable. If you have the technology but haven't used it yet to conduct face to face meetings, I highly recommend it. It is far more flexible than email, Facebook, etc. and has the added value of giving each of us a view of each others' faces and allowed us to hear the tones in our voices. We avoided those tedious misinterpretations that occur when that data is missing from the equation. No getting caught in a round of explanation and counter-explanation when someone reads an innocuous email with a template of their own angry emotion overlaying it and skewing your intentions.

Give it a try.


If you haven't used Skype, but have it loaded on your computer, here's what you do (I have a teen at home so I learned quickly): 

  1. Open the program
  2. Create a Skype account for yourself
  3. Write down and keep your user name and password. You'll need both to access your account.
  4. Your user name is your address for others to access your Skype account and talk to you.
  5. Find out the user name of a friend and call him/her up following the simple instructions provided.
  6. Talk. 
  7. Warning: if you have two different platforms (i.e. Mac vs PC, the Mac side may need to contact the PC side as the two platforms don't always play nice with each other). 

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