Holiday Celebrations with Widespread Family and Friends in Many Locations

With the Easter holiday almost here and Passover continuing through Tuesday night, I’m reminded of one of the reasons I am so passionate about seniors being comfortable with using basic technology on their cameras, tablets or computers. It is so easy today to connect family and friends who are in many different locations, sometimes throughout the world.

My personal preference is to use Zoom.us, an easy, one-time download, to connect with one another by computer, iPhone, iPad or other Android phone or tablet for seeing one another, sharing celebrations. If no electronic devices are available, you can even use a mobile or land line phone to call in.

One of the things that makes this program extra special from my perspective is that you can record your conversations, gatherings, events… whatever is shared and you’ll be preserving the memories for whomever/whenever in both video and audio!

Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 3.43.53 PMScreen shot 2014-04-19 at 3.45.56 PM On this past Christmas day, my cousins gathered from nine different locations, including at an airport, as well as by phone from India. We were together for over an hour.

In the above image on the left, I was setting up a computer in my son’s office to record our gathering for those people who could not attend. On the right, four of us were gathered around my iPad on his family patio.

Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 3.40.05 PM Screen shot 2014-04-19 at 3.41.16 PMThe next image on the left is a gallery view of several of us, from Florida, California, Rhode Island and a few from the Philadelphia home where most of my cousins and their families were gathered. On the right you’ll see a portion of the note I was writing and sharing from my iPad.

Internet and screens can be shared one at a time from any of your devices. So if one wants to show family photos, or anything else, this can be shared with the full group. So you can get an even greater sense of the intimacy of the experience, above is the one minute video I did of candle lighting on the last night of Hanukkah.  My son and grandson who live a half-hour from me in Florida had called to request our lighting candles together while on the phone. Instead I suggested we include my son, their brother and uncle, in Georgia.  Given his webcam wasn’t set up, you’ll see an icon only when he was talking.  Even though he did not have an operational webcam he could see us on his computer.

As many as 50 participant devices for up to 40 minutes are free when using Zoom.us. The host can also pay $14.99 a month for unlimited time.  If you are using the free service, you will be notified when the 40-minute end time is approaching. You do have the option to come back in again for another 40 minutes, if you so choose. If you elect to pay for a month’s service, you can cancel at any time.

Again, both video and audio recording are optional at no charge. The facilitator can record it AND he/she can give the participants permission to record also. When the gathering is over the recordings download to the computers of each person who clicked on “Record.”

You can access the Zoom program by using the DOWNLOAD link at the bottom of any of the http://Zoom.us pages.  If you have an iPad or iPhone, it will direct you to the App store for Zoom.us download. You can see a complete tutorial for setting up and/or attending a Zoom gathering on my Zoom Tutorial page.

I also have series of Zoom videos on the YouTube Technology for Seniors Zoom Playlist.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the “Leave a Reply” section below or address them to me easyseniortechnology@gmail.com. I will be checking regularly, should you need help this weekend.

To joyous and loving communications on holidays and any and all days!


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