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The first time I went to Finland was in 2003 which was before all these great web 2.0 technological advances allowing everyone anywhere all over the world to maintain connections in every form. Before it was email and a cell phone in Finland in order to make calls to my family back in the U.S. Now, with the help of Skype, email, IM chat, Meebo, and blogging tools (and of course email) I’m just an arms length away from family, friends, and…because I’m a grown up with responsibilities, my job back in Minnesota for the university. So, as I prepare to depart from the U.S., putting 5000 miles between myself and almost everyone I know, I thought I would go through a walk through of the resources I use to stay connected.
Skype – An oldie but goodie and all around favorite for video connection. I don’t use it as much in the U.S. since I utilize IM chat and my cell phone but when communicating across continents, Skype is a must! I covered Skype In and Skype Out heavily in a previous post so you can read the post here from Frozen-Reindeer.
You can also reach me on Skype with the username: frozenreindeer (all personal contacts you have my personal skype account which you may use)
A side note- Gmail just implemented a video chat that I have yet to try but something of interest to check into.
IM Chat- There is no one IM Chat program I prefer over the other and there are TONS. On my Mac I utilize the software Adium so I can use all my IM chat programs in one place such as MSN, Yahoo, AIM and Jabber. I can sign into as many accounts as I want in one place so whenever anyone contacts me I can communicate in one place rather than having to learn my new chat platform.
Meebo – I’m currently trying this out in a couple different places. I had it on the left side bar for a little bit last week but it got so crowded so I’ve moved it (but it might come back so I’ll discuss it a little bit here) Through Meebo- as the viewer of the blog you don’t need to have any chat platform to message me, you can just head over to the contact page and message me if you see me online and you might get real time responses. In some areas it works well such as having online office hours or for customer service, we’ll see how this goes.
Email- oldie but goodie and never fails in both directions. On this blog you can email me anytime using frozenreindeer at gmail dot com.
Blogging Tools- what I love about blogs …what do I not love about blogs?!? Frozen-Reindeer is my third blog after using the first two as pure blogs to keep my friends and family updated on where I was and share photos and videos of my travels. The best part is they could share this with others so it wasn’t hunting around for an email address or individual emails or cards sent with photos. Rather, it is one place to hold everything and let people stop in at their leisure to read. On Frozen-Reindeer all of you readers with your great emails and feedback have helped me structure this blog to something that can be enjoyed by anyone with a connection to Finland.
How do I stay connected? Frozen-Reindeer as my blog on WordPress, Gmail as my email client as well as my personal email accounts, Adium for all of my IM Chat needs and of course, Skype (I get a Skype In and Skype Out Account making it easy for my family to find me when traveling.
As we get ready to head off to Finland I hope you’ll continue to read and watch and feel free to email me or catch me on chat if you want to connect.
As of Monday, December 15th, we are two days away from taking off to Finland!
Use SMS to Unlock Public Toilets in Finland:
Finland’s Road Administration has started locking its isolated roadside toilets – and unlocking them via SMS. In response to incidents of arson and thefts, the transport authority came up with the novel solution which increased security, without reducing access for the public. read more
So, I am a tech geek and I have to get this posted…tech and Finland, totally needs to be included…
Google buys Finnish instant-message startup Jaiku
By Eric Auchard | October 9, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Google Inc <GOOG.O> has acquired the Finnish company Jaiku, one of a new class of start-ups that offer instant-messaging tools for Web and mobile phone users to keep track of their friends’ daily activities.
Writing on Goggle’s official blog, Tony Hsieh, a Google product manager, said his company had acquired Helsinki-based Jaiku Ltd. Google confirmed in a separate statement that the deal had closed but did not reveal financial terms.
READ FULL STORY
I have a link on my contact page to reach me using Skype but I just wanted to make sure people were aware of the benefits of skype, especially while traveling out of your home country. To keep in touch with people from home you may invest in calling cards, international cell phones or things of that nature but if you are going to have access to internet where you are going via laptop or desktop where you can download skype you must invest in use skype. It is CHEAP and, you can talk to people from home almost free (or charged at their regular call rates from home or cell phones).
You can talk to anyone anywhere from computer to computer for free where you can also use video conferencing if you have a webcam. You can also set up a phone number and voicemail and enable what Skype calls Skype in and Skype out.
Skype In allows you to RECEIVE calls from land lines or cell phones to your computer. The catch is that you can buy phone numbers in whatever area code you choose that skype offers. For example, I have Skype in enabled with one number right now on (651) area code so whatever it would normally cost a person to dial a 651 area code number on their phone that is how much it will cost them to call me on my computer (my brother can me and we could talk for hours at no cost because he has a 573 area code with free long distance on his cellso it actually doesn’t matter these days). Skype in also comes with voicemail so if someone calls you and you aren’t online, they can leave you a voicemail. This is good especially with a big time zone difference so people can reach you when it is convenient for them (and it is nice to hear friends and family voices). This is charged at a flat fee of $38 for one year (no charge to those who call you as mentioned above) or $12 for 3 months- this is the plan I am on because I am traveling abroad right now for just a month. I am going to invest in the year plan when I move to Minnesota because I will most likely be living in a smaller apartment and talking through my computer will be so easy and saves on a your cell phone bill! Skype in will also come in really handy for my boyfriend when he wants to talk to his family in Finland. Get a skype in number with the Finland area code and they can call from Finland to U.S. through skype for whatever their normal cell phone rates are, pretty cool!
Skype out is another service through Skype that allows you to call phone numbers FROM your skype software on your computer. This works great with skype in because I will call my mom of friends back home for just a short phone call to let them know I am online and then they call me back for free. The cost is about 10cents/minute. You can also send text messages through skype to cell phones- local and international- this was the best feature while being in Finland because I didn’t have to make a phone call when a short text message to let people know where I was or what I was doing was perfect. Really, really handy feature. Highly advise skype.
For the icing on the cake- do you hate talking through your computer or don’t want to feel like you have to stay in front of your computer- you can talk through skype on a bluetooth enabled wireless headset (if your computer also has bluetooth) or through a skype phone. I have been using a bluetooth headset that works great most of the time. I haven’t had the opportunity to use a skype phone yet but when I do I’ll write a review! For more information check on the links below. A review can only do so much, if you have used an instant messenger client like Yahoo or MSN before Skype should be a walk in the park so just try it out!!