Facetime for video communication with dad


One of my top missions on this trip to Taiwan was to get my 82-year old father hooked on iPad, more specifically Facetime. He’s already familiar with Youtube. Facetime is even better — he would then be able to watch performances live.

Facetime is a free application for the iPad, iPhone, and iMac computers. It’s a free, bilateral video communication over the Internet. In some ways, it’s better than Skype video.

The iPad presents a disruptive technology I had hoped he would embrace, just like the way my sister had. When I arrived at his home a few days ago, he pulled out the iPad carefully from a black case and asked me what he was supposed to do with it.

My brother had bought it last October from the Apple store near my dad’s condo but didn’t have enough time to “train” him how to make the most of the iPad and its applications.

My father was still switching on his old desk-top (PC) computer, Internet modem, and e-mail to communicate with us.

To use Facetime, you must have someone at the other end available to be contacted. Neither my brother nor my sister have their iPads connected and ready to roll at all times. After a few futile attempts, it’s no wonder you’d give up.

After simulating a live Facetime session from different rooms in his home, I now gave him an assignment.

“Wake me up tomorrow morning with Facetime,” I said. “Just leave your wifi on. Leave your iPad on — let it charge overnight. I will do the same.”

“What time should I call you?” he asked.

“Whenever you wake up. Just press the button to turn on the iPad and click on the Facetime icon. Do you remember how to look for me?”

We tried it a few times.

We would need to practice with my sister and brother next. This would not replace e-mail but it’s better than the telephone, for he is getting hard of hearing.

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