It's no secret I love technology. My love of technology started in 6th grade when I first saw Microsoft Flight Simulator on a IBM 386 computer in wood shop. I then begged for a computer and got my first one for Christmas. I was the kid who lived in the house whom you never saw. Technology became my best friend.
Since then (for 20 years now), I have embraced technology. Things are moving faster today than I ever thought possible. There are over 350 million unique user accounts on Facebook. Of those over 250 million are active (meaning in use more than once a month). Facebook is becoming a primary means of contact for people. Years ago people would call. Then texting became popular. Now it's Facebook. I find it facsinating that friends who have multiple ways to contact me (phone number (to call or text), email, and Facebook more often than not now pick Facebook.
At it's peak Myspace had 150 million users. Facebook has more than double the number of users. Myspace is dead. They did have a huge paid for spot in the movie Funny People, that I viewed as sad. Facebook appears to have the power to stick.
Twitter is another powerful tool that is having teething issues. Not enough power to scale amid the growing popularity. I use Twitter, mostly for my pilot website. One thing that I don't like about Twitter is the number of porn/adult websites on Twitter. What the sites do is create an account and then "follow" everyone in hoping people will click on the adult site website. I go through my followers once a week and block all those who I can clearly tell are porn sites or simply a business website. Annoying.
Skype. Skype is a powerful communication tool that can make phone calls for cheap in addition to free calls. I have a Skype number for my Mid-Cities Geek startup. I also signed Kelli up for an account. With a Mac using Skype is stupid easy. I can place a call to Kelli and have a video/voice/text chat without having to set anything up. Kelli "got it" very quickly. When my mother in law gets a Mac, Kelli or I (depends on if I travel to Portland next weekend) will install Skype and show her how to use it. Skype to Skype calls are free. All Macs have built in microphones and cameras. Both are very high quality and can be used even in a noisy environment as the microphone doesn't pick up back ground noise.
Kelli now has a Google Voice account. She doesn't know why she has one. But she has one. This is one more step in my goal of killing our monthly phone bill within 6 months. Right now we pay $19 a month for Vonage. Not much, but it's $240 a year we will soon be spending on diapers. My plan is to either get a MagicJack or use Skype for our home phone service. MagicJack works fine on Windows Home Server and is just $20 a year. Skype can be set up so it's invisible to the home user (like Vonage is too Kelli), but takes a little more tinkering. Skype can be as low as $4 a month. Still planning out all the details.
When we go to Japan we will be able to stay in contact with family and friends on the cheap mostly due to Skype and Google Voice. Kelli can call her mother via Skype for free. We can also make cheap phone calls via Skype and/or Google Voice.
Nine years ago we would have had to make costly calls back to the United States via long distance carriers or maybe a prepaid calling card. We would be able to email photos back....and that's about it. Fifteen years ago we would have made only costly long distance calls. Few had email and no one had a digital camera.
I love technology.