Streams

Camera Shy?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Phone calls on Skype are at an all-time high, but some say callers are still uncomfortable with face-to-face video conversations. Peter Rojas, co-founder of gdgt.com, talks about this intimate form of technology.

Guests:

Peter Rojas

Comments [19]

Jane from Brooklyn

We use GMAIL video chat to talk to our son who is in college in Canada. We don't do it too often though because it requires for both of us to be at home and have laptops ready.
It is much easier to use cell phones for a quick call or text message.
However during the period of several weeks when my son lost his phone we video-chatted almost every day. I have to say that I felt much closer to him, and more connected than I normally do just communicating via cell phones

Feb. 12 2010 12:04 PM
plp

It's funny how everyone is so "fanboy" of iphones, they have revolutionized cell phones but they still lack basic features that phones had five plus years ago (voice dialing, bluetooth file transfer, how long did it take for copy&paste), and the battery life stinks and the phone's rf is marginal. All that griping, I have to say that I love mine and use it all the time! My nokia e71 has video calling and many other options.

Feb. 12 2010 11:20 AM
Rabbi Reuben Modek from Nyack NY

I run an innovative non for profit Jewish educational program. Our primary offering is Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutoring at the homes of our students. Recently we began offering tutoring over video conferencing/Skype. We even have one student in LA. Teaching language and religion over Skype has been a personal adjustment for me but it seems to work. I think we are entering a new era in long distance communication, which is forcing me to evaluate the notion that nothing replaces face to face in-same-location converstaion. A Skype lesson does feel after a few moments as if I was in the room with the student. Truly mind-boggling.

Feb. 12 2010 11:15 AM
Rabbi Reuben Modek from Nyack NY

I run an innovative non for profit Jewish educational program. Our primary offering is Bar and Bat Mitzvah tutoring at the homes of our students. Recently we began offering tutoring over video conferencing/Skype. We even have one student in LA. Teaching language and religion over Skype has been a personal adjustment for me but it seems to work. I think we are entering a new era in long distance communication, which is forcing me to evaluate the notion that nothing replaces face to face in-same-location converstaion. A Skype lesson does feel after a few moments as if I was in the room with the student. Truly mind-boggling.

Feb. 12 2010 11:15 AM
Hugh Sansom from Brooklyn NY

The miserable state of US telephony is more proof of the myth of "market economics".

From Reagan through to today, the federal government has stood back to let the "market" decide about cell phone standards. The result is endless bickering among the telecoms trying to make money for doing nothing. And so the US has the _worst_ telephony in the industrialized world.

Feb. 12 2010 10:59 AM
N from NYC

I just tried chatroulette out of curiosity this second... and the first thing I connected to was some guy masturbating. Gross, and seems like this is going to need some serious policing - all there is is a disclaimer saying that you need to be 16 years old.

yuk.

Feb. 12 2010 10:58 AM
Dorian from Manhattan

Great to hear Peter on the line.

I used Gchat to connect my MBA class with the professor in Thailand who co-wrote our textbook. Hooked the class projector to my laptop, and we spoke across timezones and geography.

Feb. 12 2010 10:58 AM
Dave G from High Bridge, NJ

I am an IT contractor and I am currently using Skype + a screen sharing app 2-3 times a week to train my own replacement in India. (Of course that's a whole other issue...) It's much easier to see that the guy "gets it" while using real-time video than email or instant messaging.

Feb. 12 2010 10:56 AM
superf88

the skype scene in "it's complicated" is probably skype's first slapstick movie classic!

i wonder how many real life classics there are out there? i'm guessing that scene came from real life...

Feb. 12 2010 10:48 AM
Tony from Santa Clara, CA

Google talk has much better quality than Skype.

Feb. 12 2010 10:47 AM
robin from irvington, ny

I been using the Mac isight camera since its first generation 7 years ago for both business and personal use.

My business partner lives in Italy and we talk multiple times a day. Its like we are in the same office.

Also my kids (ages 6 and 7) have grown up using sight. They know how make calls and answer. They hear the computer ring and by the time of day it is, they know who it might be Grandma in Connecticut or a cousin in italy.

Its FANTASTIC!!! I don't know why people don't use it all the time.

Feb. 12 2010 10:46 AM
Jon Shipman

I recently got a N900 and got a call from my mom. What surprised me was that she started a video chat over the cell phone! Granted we did it over Google Talk and not skype, but just the same.

If my mom can figure out how to video call me then I better make sure not to answer the phone right after a shower! :o

Feb. 12 2010 10:38 AM
jenna from staten island

While the technology is amazing, and I can certainly see the benefits for many situations - let's face it - when I speak to you on the phone I am also checking email, writing to-do lists, wearing sweatpants and a face mask, and sad to say, but sometimes channel surfing!
there's no need for you to witness this, and no need for me to give up my phone time for all the silly things i can accomplish while talking to you.
Unless its you brian, then i'll give you m fullest attention

Feb. 12 2010 10:06 AM
Merrill Clark from NY, NY

I guess with free, there are always problems or catches. I receive alot of pornagraphic solicitations via Skype. Too bad Skype does not have a dns (do not solicit) or npp (no porn please) lists. I would think from a commercial point of view, indentifying such people on one of the above lists would be good marketing information for Skype to allow Skype to better solicit.

Feb. 12 2010 10:01 AM
Bill Koslosky MD from bkosmd.com

Brian:

Since your last segment with Peter was about the iPad, I think it's interesting to note that it's missing a forward-facing camera (or any camera for that matter) that people were expecting to use for video conferencing. The only problem with this is that a device meant for resting on your lap would likely give a up-nostril view.

Dell will be releasing a smaller 5-inch tablet with a front camera, if the reports on the prototypes are accurate.

You might be more forgiving when watching a video of a loved one, but with others you might want to optimize the camera angle, the lighting, color balance, etc, which are all mostly external to the software and hardware. Will make-up artists be available for house calls?

For clinical purposes, video conferencing is a vital component of telemedicine.

Feb. 12 2010 09:46 AM
Marci from Israel

I'm from NY but have been living in Israel for the year. From here I skype my parents everyday - I miss them, but because of skype we get to see each other everyday and with my lap top, I'm able to give them a tour of my apartment. It's wonderful! It was a little more difficult for my friends in NY to get comfortable with the camera, but once they realized how easy it is, we skype also. I think at first people think you need to look your best to talk to someone on camera, but with friends and family , I think you can skype in a relaxed fashion.

Feb. 12 2010 09:03 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

Skype is changing how we get our news and how we learn. But here are my questions or peeves:

1. Why is the recording software for Skype so terrible? Pamela for Skype, Total Recorder, Skype Recorder, Audio Hijack and other programs are just horrible and have more bugs and problems then seem possible.

2. Why doesn’t Skype have a recorder embedded within it to record conversations? Why is additional software required?

3. Why does Skype for Apple insist upon automatically adjusting volume controls during a conversation (Skype for Windows does not do this)? There should be a simple box to click that says, “Turn off automatic volume adjustment.” It is really, really difficult to figure out how to do this right now.

Feb. 12 2010 08:47 AM
Scott from home

With my wife stationed in Europe this spring Skype is a godsend, allowing free communication free of roaming charges (those cell phone family plans don't work there).

We use laptops, so the only problems with seeing each other is our computer cameras look at each others fourheads if we angle the screen to see each other.

Interestingly, awkward gaps in communication, things to talk about and lapses in memory are more prevalent in screen encounters. Maybe it seems more of a formal "sit-down" as opposed to a phone call anywhere. This will probably change as we get used to it.

It is Carnavale there now so I hope to see her costume on my next phone call!

Feb. 12 2010 07:50 AM
Linda Locke from white plains

With Skype, my husband and I can call our son who is a Peace Corps Volunteer in eastern Europe, cheaply, and we can see how he looks, which is great. Not so sure he would say the same about us, though...

Skype is wonderful for staying in touch with loved ones far away, and we love the camera feature so we can see how he looks. When I was a Peace Corps Volunteer 30 years ago in North Africa, I spoke to my parents on Christmas Day only, after standing in line for many hours, and reached them about 3 in the morning their time, the only time we could get a trunk line out from my small village. Skype is bringing the world closer together.

Feb. 12 2010 07:14 AM

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