It all started with the YM (Yahoo Messenger) offline messages from my mum in September this year. Through the help of her younger colleague, she learned to open her yahoo account and to send messages to us (I and my brother).
I was ecstatic because I knew Mum. At her age (mid 60s), we can’t expect her to be techie at all. A simple feature in her mobile phone can be extremely complicated for her.
Since she learned to send messages in YM, my brother and I received daily messages. To catch us online, she will rush to her faculty room every break time because by then, we are up already and at work. Then for few minutes we chat.
By the time we have our lunch break, my Mum is already at home where unfortunately she doesn’t have internet. She can only access her YM at her workplace hence it limits our time chat.
So, we decided to purchase her a desktop and also subscribed for internet connection. My sister, who stays and works four hours away from home, traveled and spent a weekend with Mum so she could teach her all the basics in computer from switching on to turning off the machine.
My brother and I were anticipating to chat with her the following week. To our dismay, YM had always a system glitch. Sometimes I was unable to log-in for days for whatever reasons. Then my brother introduced us to Oovoo, a web based free video conference facility.
Since then, we chat every night and weekend. Sometimes due to work demand, I need to stay late and I miss them joining in the video conference. We also demanded curfew for our Mum. With the time difference, we told Mum that she could only stay online until 11.30pm which is 7.30pm in our time. We don’t want her to suffer the next day because of lack of sleep.
On occasions where I miss the video conference with my brother, my Mum would send me a video message. Oovoo is really nice. Rather than leaving offline message at YM, Oovoo has a better option – video messages though it has also a chat facility.
With this, it slashes my phone budget by 70%. I no longer buy phone cards to call Mum and our communication nowadays is even more frequent.
Then yesterday, I discovered the 160by2.com, a website where you can send free sms in UAE, Saudi, Kuwait and few Asian countries like India, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.
So now, I need only a phone card for emergency calls and when I don’t have internet access.
Update: I learned from a friend about smsteriod, a site for free sms. It’s actually better than the 160by2 because you can send sms anywhere in the world.