Connecting on line, face to face

Wanna have coffee together? As people shut down and shut in, there are a couple of possibilities for video community. These options allow for multiple participants, if you have a device with a camera and a mic ( laptop, tablet, smartphone, some computers).

1) If you have a GMAIL (google) account and your friends have GMAIL accounts, you can use Google Hangouts (hangouts.google.com).One of you goes to the site and chooses “Start video”. Then a popup window will appear. Choose the “Copy link” option and send that link to your friends via email (we have found the automatic-invite option is sketchy) They can hit the link in t heir email and log into their google account and appear on your screen. There’s also an APP for mobile that will do this. PROS: REALLY easy. CONS: everyone must have gmail accounts.

2) SKYPE: go to https://www.skype.com/en/get-skype/ and download the app/application for your device.
Open the app, and you will be prompted to create an account using an existing email address. If you do not already have a microsoft account, you will have to do this. Sorry. Once you have the account set up, you can launch SKYPE. You can customize the SKYPE ID to something sensible (we can post screenshots of how to do that). PROS: Robust, broadly available, pretty straightforward once you have it set up. CONS: Everyone must download Skype and set up an account with microsoft, and takes a little time to get it set up.

3) ZOOM: this is a more robust videoconferencing tool. Someone sets up a meeting, and sends you a link. You click on the link to be led to zoom; this may require downloading an app to your phone, or a small program to your computer. PROS: very straightforward to get into the call, and no accounts/passwords required. CONS: someone has to set up the meeting; not always obvious how to manage the options.

There are also other options such as FACETIME (if you all have Apple devices).  What did we miss?  Add suggestions and questions to the comments!

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