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Monday, November 24, 2008

Staying In Touch

Last year when Joe deployed he was in a location that had a lot of restrictions on what websites they could access. Pretty much any site with "streaming media" was blocked; so this meant we couldn't do any live web cam chats. Luckily we have our own server, so at least he was able to record some short video clips on his laptop. He saved them to a folder on our server and I was able to show them to Kayla that way. It really helped being able to "see" him, but I know she would have enjoyed "chatting" with him via live web cam too.

His upcoming deployment is in another location this time, and as far as he's aware he'll have a little more access to other sites. We're hoping we'll be able to do some live web cam chats with the kids this time.

So when I heard about Tok Box from Mom Central I knew this was a site I wanted to try out; and that hopefully we'll be able to use this while he's deployed.

We used Tok Box with the grandparents and it was really easy to use. I like that there wasn't anything to download. You just click on "call anyone" and then "invite/add friends." If they're not already on your friend list you click on "share URL" and it sends a link to that person's email. When they click on the link it connects and you're chatting! The other person doesn't even need to sign up and make an account.

There is a public post section on the site that I wouldn't use though; it seems to basically be a free-for-all (I guess not much different from other public video sites where you can upload/say/comment on whatever you want.) Aside from that I think this is an easy enough site to use for video chats with long-distance friends and relatives.

You can control your privacy settings and only allow calls, videos, messages, etc from people on your friend list. You can also block users from contacting you as well.

Kayla thought it was really neat to see grandma and talk to her at the same time. I'm sure she and Lucas will get a lot of use out of this talking to Joe...the hard part is coordinating with the time difference!

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16 comments:

Jen said...

We will be praying that your husband stays safe. My husband and I were both in the military, so I totally understand deployments! I love all the pictures on your blog, your kids are beautiful!

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

That's a great find. Hopefully Joe WILL have more access and be able to keep in touch.

Our web cam is a great way for us to keep in touch with family too. If it weren't for the web cam, my kids wouldn't know half their family.

Kathleen Marie said...

I have not heard of this...Sounds great! Keeping you all in our prayers! God Bless!

chelle said...

I have never heard of it either. Wow. Starting to prepare for another deployment must be so hard! You are all totally in my thoughts :)

Beck said...

That sounds like a wonderful find! I hope it's a real blessing to your family while Joe is deployed.

Killlashandra said...

Working the time differences out will probably be the hard part you're right. But it's cool the option is available to you. Sounds like a great way to stay in live touch with your loved ones. :)

datri said...

I thought I saw on CNN that the military has their own approved YouTube type site? I'll have to see if I can find that info again....

Bailey's Leaf said...

Sounds neat! I'm glad that you were able to test drive your soon-to-be new means of contact! Ugh!

grandma said...

It was awesome to be able to see Joe, Kayla and a little bit of Lucas last night. Hopefully while Joe is away this will be a way for all of us to be able to keep in touch.

mommaof4wife2r said...

super fun...it seems like a great idea.

hjoy said...

Neat site, I am going to have to try letting Junior talk to grandma with it.
Prayers for your husband as he is deployed.

Tammy said...

I'll have to check out that site...

This reminded me of when my husband was deployed right after we were married. The very first time there wasn't even e-mail access- it was so hard! So besides letters (and a very, very rare phone call here and there) we would talk to each other into a tape recorder...and send it snail mail. It was actually quite romantic to listen to your loved one's voice as you drifted off to sleep telling you how much they missed you...sigh.

Anyway, please know I will be praying for you all!

Kari said...

Oh Michelle! I just caught up on reading your blog Wow alot of change my friend. It's nice you'll be with your Mom :) Can't even begin to imagine the emotions you must be experiencing! Hopefully the video call will be ok!
I can't believe that lil baby is already walking! WTG Lucas!

Laura said...

We'll be praying about that, I so hope that you all can chat and connect at good times :)

WOW! Lucas is getting to big, what happened to the little baby?

Sue said...

What a neat site. With Kala's first best friend leaving next summer this will come in handy.

:)

Sue said...

What a neat site. With Kala's first best friend leaving next summer this will come in handy.

:)