Enjoy a bit of Face Time

Recently my cousin and her husband spent a couple of days with us on their way to Miami to join a dive trip. She’s my age and, like us, their children and grandchildren are spread far and wide. I was surprised and delighted to discover how she keeps in touch with all the grand-kids – via Face Time. It was also quite interesting to discover that all her grandchildren had iPod Touches – with subsidized help from Grannie – just so they can stay in touch. Calls or text messages (don’t forget iTouches do Messages too) were used to make sure the intended callee would be available, then a Face Time connection would be made. It’s a great way for my cousin to be a live part of her children’s and grandchildren’s lives on a daily basis even when thousands of miles separate them.

Our 3rd grandchild celebrated his birthday yesterday and, knowing that both mom and dad have iPhones, I decided to try a Face Time Happy Birthday call. It was a great success! Mom and dad had never tried using the Face Time app and, like me, were pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. And, I just noticed a photo on Facebook where the birthday boy was showing off his new iPod Touch. Hmmm . . . looks like we’ll be enjoying a lot more of our own Family Face Time.

The Face Time app is available for Mac desktops and laptops[$0.99 and requires OSX 10.6.6 or higher]. It’s a built-in app on iPhones, iPads (2nd & 3rd generation) and iPod Touches (4th generation). It only works on a wifi connection. If you’re wondering how Face Time handles multiple devices using the same Apple ID (The email address associated with your Apple account is what you use to connect via Face Time), it’s quite simple. Face Time “rings” on every device associated with the account until someone picks up the call. If you don’t want it to ring on a particular system, just turn it off in your Preferences panel. This also insures that mom and dad will be aware of all Face Time activity.

Distance doesn’t need to limit the time you spend with your family. Face Time is just another of a growing number of affordable video calling options available today. Find one that works for you and start calling!

Blurb Mobile

Blurb has taken story-telling with pictures to a new level with Blurb Mobile [iPhone – $1.99]. Now you can create a multi-media slide show that includes photos, video, audio and text – and do it all right on your iPhone. Once done, the results are saved to your personal site at Blurb Mobile and can be published on Facebook, Twitter or emailed to others. The app itself is free, but you really need to buy the in-app upgrade ($1.99). It increases the number or photos and video clips you can include in a story as well as the length of each audio and video clip.

Blurb Mobile

Creating a story is easy. Select photos and video clips from your iPhone’s photos or camera roll to add them to the story, then drag them to the right place in your story line. Pinch in and out on an image to adjust the zoom level. Tap on a photo to display the editing controls. You can rotate, crop, move or delete the image as well as add text captions or audio clips. Repeat this with each of your slides until your story is complete. There are seven slideshow themes with the free version and eight more are included in the upgrade.

Although it’s designed for the iPhone, it will work on the iPad and iPod Touch although I haven’t tried adding audio on either of them yet. The real beauty of this app is that you can create live shows at an event and share them immediately using the iPhone’s camera and online features. That doesn’t mean a not so instant show wouldn’t be just as special.

To demonstrate how much fun Blurb Mobile can be, they spent some time in the crowds at the royal wedding and posted the results. They are delightful! For a not so fancy sample – created on an original iPad – you can view my slideshow of our trip to Cedar Key. Blurb has since been moved to my iPod Touch so I can use it with the camera.

Family historians can take archival images, add a bit of narration and create a beautiful tribute to an individual or family. It’s also a fun way to capture your family’s history as it happens. Now, if Blurb would include embed codes for blogs, it would also be a blogger’s dream.