Opinion » Cybernaut

Virtually home for the holidays

Do you Skype?

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If you’re working in the service industry, and most Whistler residents are or will be when the holidays roll around, chances are you’re not going anywhere this Christmas. That’s okay – take the time-and-a-half holiday pay and double-time overtime, and run.

Besides, this is 2005. Nobody needs to be home for Christmas and New Year’s anymore, providing your friends, family and you have the right gear.

Stay in touch

If you don’t have a microphone or camera on your computer, get one. They start at about $30 and could save you hundreds in long-distance calls. Last week Skype (www.skype.com), the free Voice Over IP phone service, announced a new free video phone service. You can call anywhere in the world and chat for as long as you want through the Internet without paying a cent over what you already pay for your Internet service. For a monthly fee you can also make and receive calls through your computer to and from those people who don’t have the right equipment or a fast enough Internet connection. If you make a lot of long distance calls, it might be worth the investment.

Of course you can also use programs like MSN Messenger, AOL Messenger, iChat to stay in touch. All are free and can be found at www.downloads.com under Internet/Chat or www.tucows.com under Home and Education/Chat.

Be Santa Claus

‘Tis better to give than to receive, some wise man once said, and he knew what he was talking about. But while charity and generosity are noble in their own way, we live in a tit-for-tat world – you need to give tit to get tat, and vice versa. In other words, the more you give the more you get.

Of course anything bought after Dec. 1 can only be classified as "last minute." Unless you can buy something today and have it in the mail tomorrow, there’s a chance the gifts might not get there.

Being a last-minute kind of guy I’ve been through all this many times before. To simplify things I do a lot of my last-minute shopping online and throw in a few extra bucks for the express mail.

I do a lot of that shopping at www.indigo.ca . It used to be a Canadian company, but now it’s a division of Chapters. Still I think most of the money remains in Canada, and as always keep as much money in Canada as possible.

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