Tag Archives: skype

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I Love Hospitals With WiFi, or Twittering Childbirth

When we were looking for hospitals and doctors offices for little Athena, wifi wasn’t really on the list so much as reputation, compatibility with our insurance, and other concerns.  In retrospect, though, thank goodness Stanford Hospital and Palo Alto Medical Foundation have wifi.

We live more than 2,000 miles from most of our family.  Not all of them could make the flight to California for the birth.  We also have too many friends around the country to possibly make all the phone calls we’d have liked to have made that night.  In addition, we had several thousand people all over the world wondering which name we would pick for our baby.

Because of internet connectivity, I was able to do a fair job of including all of them in the process:

1) With my iPhone, I was able to take and post photos during labor and delivery.  Photos of my mom’s new granddaughter were available for her, on Flickr, within minutes of birth:

Wrapped and swaddled

I’m not sure I can properly express here how much it meant to her and the rest of our family to be able to see Athena so quickly.

2)  Using the Twitterific App on my iPhone was was able to post updates to Twitter throughout the whole labor.  This is a perfect example of what Twitter is good for.  Liveblogging while my wife endures the pains of childbirth would be ridiculously insensitive, but there were always minutes of downtime here and there to tap out a few words describing what’s going on.

live-twittering

3)  Using the Twitter App for Facebook, my updates showed up on my Facebook status as well.  This was a big help, since so many more friends and family use Facebook than Twitter.

A fourth option, which we didn’t use but might have had the labor been longer, was videoconferencing with Skype.  We’ve been using Skype to keep in touch with family for some time.  It is currently my grandmother’s favorite thing to do.  Since we’ve been back home Athena has become the star of many family video sessions.

One final thing I have to mention is YouTube – we certainly weren’t going to share the gooey miracle of life with the world in streaming video, but my wife followed the videos fo several other women during pregancy up to and including labor.  We don’t know a lot of other couples having kids right now, so that gave Ann a personal connection with their stories and helped her through some of the tougher times during the last 9 months.  She could see that other people were going through the same things she was and that was an important comfort.

The common theme here, which I think goes a long way toward explaining the growth of the internet as a whole, is communication.  Because of almost universal connectivity, we were able to turn a deep personal experience into a social experience as well.

Sometimes I am asked: How is it that you became a famous minor internet personality?

Baby name article in the Sydney Morning Herald Okay, I stole the title from John Hodgman, who spoke at Google recently. And to be really fair, I should add more modifiers to the title, “briefly famous” being much more accurate.

Hodgman, who writes in the great tradition of literary nonsense, has a very entertaining story of minor fame in his new book More Information Than You Require. He has inspired me to write a a less entertaining story about the minor internet fame that our baby naming project has bestowed upon me.

Earlier today I was interviewed on The Morning Show, broadcast all across the great nation-continent of Australia. Since my kayak is in the shop, I was to go to KNTV in San Jose where the interview would be done live via satellite.

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The Cleveland Web Standards Association, Helvetica, and videoconferencing

If you are a web developer or designer in the Cleveland area, I highly recommend dropping by the Cleveland Web Standards Association meetings. They just launched a new website, including a great aggregation of local web development blogs.

I started going to meetings last year and I have to say it’s a great group of people that host some really interesting discussions and speakers. And I’m not just saying that because they let me give a presentation a few months ago.

At the last meeting Eric Meyer took some photos – one makes me look really important:

CWSA Afterchat

In the other, it looks like I dozed off in the middle of the discussion:

CWSA Afterchat

Oh well. The group screened the film Helvetica, which is the best movie I’ve ever seen about a typeface. I’d recommend it for anyone who has an interest in design, typography, or even 20th-century history.

Since I’ve moved out of town I won’t be able to make it to too many meetings in person. I want to set up videoconferencing, anyone have any recommendations for web cams, software, or services? I’m looking for something that is extremely easy to use, since my parents want to be able to do video calls too. I’ve heard some good things about Skype. Any thoughts?