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Staying Connected on Valentine’s Day

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

With all the hurly-burly in today’s world, it is amazing that anyone has time for love any more. It seems like our work days have progressively gotten longer, business trips more frequent and our commitments more time-consuming. It can be very hard for two busy people with full schedules to stay connected. Sometimes just scheduling dinner together can seem like a lot of work.

 

Which makes recognizing that special someone on Valentine’s Day even more important.

Fortunately, the technology that makes it easy for your boss to track you down is also making it easier for you to stay connected to your partner. Here is a rundown of some handy apps and online tools for couples.

Avocado

Avocado is an app designed especially for couples. Available for iPhone, Android and Web browsers, this app allows you to privately chat with your partner, share photos, edit the same “to do” list, set up dates on one another’s calendar and even send each other doodles. One you down load the app, it will ask to provide your partner’s email address so the app can send him/her an invitation to join you. Once accepted, the app will offer its connection functionality to just you and your partner. The app compiles your interactions, forming a timeline that traces the history of your time together. It even allows you to send kisses to your partner. Of course, you have to kiss your phone to do it, but it’s the thought that counts.

Couple

Another entrant into the couples-app market is Couple, The App for Two. Much of its functionality is similar to Avocado, featuring a private chat space, a shared calendar and list-keeping capabilities. There is also a location sharing feature that could be handy when you cannot respond directly to your lover’s call. A nice feature of Couple is that it allows you to place a phone call to your partner from inside the app, allowing you to connect directly with the object of your desire without having to close out of Couple and fire up your phones calling functionality.

A cute feature of this app is the Thumb Kiss. While chatting with your partner, you can both put your thumbs on the screen at the same time, making your phone vibrate and your thumbprints show on the phone’s screen. Yeah, not as good as the real thing, but at least your don’t have to kiss your phone.

Between

Between is similar to Avocado and Couple, providing a private and secure chat space for couples, a shared calendar and space set up to share photos and notes. This app does not have a ‘kiss’ function like the previous two, but it user interface is the best of all three – clear, well-rendered and easy to use. It handles photographs quiet well and stacks your interactions in a nice, intuitive fashion. And its home page features your partner’s city and associated weather, helping you feel close even when you may be a continent apart.

Snapchat

For those of us who like to keep our relationships private, there is the industry-leader in photo swapping apps – Snapchat. What is more fun and endearing than getting a goofy picture from the one you love. The fact that all Snapchat pictures self-destruct after ten seconds allows for some special creativity with the app. Users can even put captions on their pictures. Although the service maintains that all images disappear ten seconds after they are sent, Snapchat has been involved in some situations lately where the app’s security has been compromised and some of the photos have been stolen. So no matter what the software manufacturer tells you, nothing on the web is totally secure. It is always a good idea to be careful what images your share online.

Skype and Google+ Hangout

Video chat is, after all, the next best thing to being there. While couples apps are designed to track your relationship on your mobile device, nothing beats being able to chat with your partner in real time. Skype’s simple, tried-and-true functionality has been connecting lovers and families for more than ten years. The simple combination of video chatting, instant messaging and file sharing remains the gold standard for online video chat. Not many companies are given the privilege of having their name turned into a verb – eg. “I’ll Skype you.” There is now a version of the app that works with mobile devices.

The Google Hangouts service provides many of the functions you would expect from the teleconferencing service you use during the day. Not only will it let you IM and video chat with your partner, but also has a feature that lets you two watch the same TV show, movie or video. The functionality even allows for group calls. Probably not a function you will use with your baby on Valentine’s Day, but it’s nice to know it’s there. Hangouts are also available for smartphones.

So, if you are going to be separated from your special someone on St. Valentine’s Day, we feel for you. Maybe one of these couple’s or video-chatting apps will take the sting away.

Agent Ryan S. (Badge #23) has been with the Geek Squad for 16 years, and was fixing Macs before they were cool. (Remember those old monochrome displays? Ryan does.) Oh, and the plot of the Matrix is based on a service call he went on in 1997.

Valentine’s Day and Long-Distance Relationships: Skype to the Rescue!

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Long distance relationships (LDRs) are not for the faint of heart. The late-night phone calls, frantic searching for low-cost airfares, the random text messages in the middle of the day, the joyous reunions and sad separations can take a lot out of a person. No matter how strong the connection between you and your loved one is, the miles between you can take their toll. Sometimes all you want to do is see his or her face.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, most of us are more concerned with “did I get the right gift?” (Answer: Chocolate and flowers are usually a winning combo.) But for those of us who have been in an LDR before, we know that the greatest gift is being able to be with your significant other — and when that’s not physically possible, we turn (as always) to technology for a fix.

One of the greatest things about technology and the Internet is that — together — they can bridge the gap between people separated by vast distances. The ability of modern hardware and network infrastructures enable us to stream clean, non-jerky two-way video & audio in real time is a glorious thing: so, if you can’t be with the one you love on the special day, at least you can still connect with each other via services like Skype.

Speaking of Skype, a few years back Agent Alex starred in one of our “Two Minute Miracle” videos on how to set up Skype on your computer. Check out the video on our site here:

Skype Setup: 2 Minute Miracles

If you have trouble getting this to work, Agents are standing by to help. Chat with one here.

Agent Tanya B. has been a woman of technology since 2009. When she steps away from her role maintaining the Geeksquad.com website, Tanya is either at the gym, walking her dog, or gaming with the other Agent B. Having moved to corporate from Florida last spring, she’s trying really hard to not complain about the cold too much.

Mom Still Cannot Use Skype

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

So you bought your Mom and Dad a laptop last year so they could video chat with their grandkids. Everyone agreed it would be nice to video chat and were excited to begin using it. Unfortunately, once the holidays were over, the video chat idea lost some of its momentum. Oh, they tried it a couple of times, but your Dad just couldn’t get the hang of the camera and software – any tech for that matter – have always challenged your Mom. “Oh, we’ll just call you,” is their standard response these days.

Don’t give up hope yet. Agent Alex made a 2 Minute Miracle video describing how to setup and use Skype. In it he describes how to setup a Skype account, install the software, add contacts and make a call. After watching the video, your parents should be able to finally get the video chat functionality up and running.

Skype Setup

Back to School: Connecting with Your College Kids via Technology (A Primer)

Monday, July 30th, 2012
For many parents, sending their kids off to college can be bittersweet. Fortunately, technology can help offset the feelings of separation by keeping family and friends in touch despite the distance.
 

 

Video-A-Go-Go

Laptops are often at the top of a student’s shopping list for college.  While mostly used for homework, papers and research, they’re also great for teleconferencing on the cheap.

Most laptops include built-in webcams which are great for audio/videoconferencing. Combined with programs like Skype (http://www.skype.com), Google Talk (http://www.google.com/talk/) or FaceTime (http://www.apple.com/mac/facetime/), those Sunday night calls can be more meaningful, allowing everyone to see each other while they are talking.

 Smartphone, Smart Choice 

Sometimes, regular phone calls are still the best option. Which is why a smartphone is a good choice. Many family plans allow free long distance so children and parents can reach out and talk as often as needed. Plus, many modern smartphones have front-facing cameras to enable you to use Skype, FaceTime or similar video chat apps while on the go – whether it be for a pre-exam pep talk, or at a pep rally before the big game.

 Social Networking Made Simple

With more parents (and grandparents) joining social networks, students can keep everyone up to date with Facebook (http://www.facebook.com) or Google+ (http://plus.google.com). College life can be hectic at times, so the ability to upload stories about college classes, photos of dorm life, or recorded videos make it easy for loved ones to keep up on their students’ busy lives.

Of course, while getting their children set up with the technology to keep in touch, parents will also want to make sure their own home tech is up to the task.  Geek Squad Agents can help to ensure the home network is setup, safe and secure, and the home computer is free of malware and ready to go for reaching out to their loved ones. Even if it’s only so their kids can ask for more “laundry” money.

Agents are available 24 hours a day to help with your technology at 1-800 GEEK SQUAD (800-433-5778), online at http://support.geeksquad.com, or in a Geek Squad Precinct located at your local Best Buy.

Agent Derek has been removing techno-stress from the lives of his Geek Squad clients since 2005.  When not providing remote help as an Online Support Agent, he likes to take to the road on a vintage motorcycle for adventures through Ohio country highways.

Skype Set-Up (2MM)

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Stay Connected with Your Long Distance Love on Valentine’s Day

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

For more information about the dinner Geek Squad is hosting for long distance couples on February 12th, click here.

Geek Squad wants to Help Long Distance Couples Stay Connected

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Anyone who has been in a long-distance relationship before knows how spending special days alone (birthdays, Christmas, etc) can suck.

This is especially true for that day for lovers everywhere- Valentine’s Day.

As a former member of the long-distance club (my wife is from Toronto, I’m from Minneapolis), I can attest to the incredible strain thousands of miles can put on a relationship. You have to work at it really hard, and be really committed to each other, in order to succeed – and sometimes you have to get really creative in your approach to connecting.

For us, we used Skype, an internet video conferencing platform, to stay connected to each other. Every night we’d chat online, “face to face” — something that really helped us cement our bond and keep it strong despite the distance between us.

As a recently married man, I am very happy the long-distance chapter in our lives is over. So when I heard about our Geek Squad Valentine’s Day contest, I wanted to tell you all about it.

This Valentine’s Day, Geek Squad is doing something special for long-distance lovers: arranging a romantic dinner for two — via Skype.

On February 12, we’ll host dinners for six lucky couples at the BLT Steak restaurant in Los Angeles and BLT Steak restaurant in New York. Romance will be in the air as Geek Squad Agents connect each of the couples via Skype at their dinner tables , enabling them to spend a romantic, candlelit dinner together (virtually, at least). And to sweeten the pot, we are throwing in a free netbook worth $350 plus a $150 Geek Squad gift card to help them stay connected past Valentine’s Day.

We’ve partnered with Sheknows.com and ChipChick.com to pick couples who fit the bill. To enter, one of you needs to be in LA, the other in New York City.

Deadline to enter is February 8th, 2010. Do you and your special someone fit the bill? Head to the sites listed below and make your case for why you are deserving of this special treat!

Enter at SheKnows.com

Enter at ChipChick.com

Geek Squad 2MM: How to use Technology with Long Distance Relationships

Friday, November 20th, 2009

 

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