Tonight I was testing Facetime, Skype and Google Hangout with a few friends to see if it could be useful for getting together to game, as we are starting to get pulled apart geographically. Facetime and Skype had the best resolution and sound quality, but are limited to calling one person (Skype will allow multiple callers, but you have to pay a monthly fee.) Google Hangout did multiple people easily, but we did notice that the iPad in the conference suffered microphone fidelity — a known issue (there’s an app for that) and I suspect fallout of the idiotic pissing contest between Apple and Google.

Here’s an idea guys, try servicing the customers instead of trying for world domination. What’s next? frickin’ lasers on the moon?

It didn’t hit me at the time, but thinking on it I am still able to be amazed that I am talking to friends 70 miles away in Santa Fe, and also in Seoul on the other side of the world, at the same time — seeing their faces, hearing their voices…¬†There’s a lot wrong with the world (isn’t there always?) but there’s still wonderous things that technology is bringing us.

As for using teleconferencing, I’ve come to the conclusion that if we only have a single player calling in, Skype or Facetime (if they have a Mac) is the way to go; for multiple players, I would go to Google Hangout (which also has a third party dice app you can get a hold of. Facetime was very stable over the period used, but Skype was a bit twitchy from time to time. Google was the worst of the bunch, continually losing at least one of the people.

On the matter of being able to see the person — for the group that’s present, it looks like I’ll probably use the iPad as the camera/mike, and mirror the pickup with an HDMI rig into the television in the living room — and I’ll use my laptop for the notes, dice, etc.