Older men video chat police departments consolidating dispatch centers

It was the kind of experience that succeeding in doing what social networking is supposed to do: Make us feel less alone and more connected.The struggle to get people to put their faces online was highlighted with recent scrutiny of Airtime, a much hyped startup video chat site backed by Napster doyens Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning.Video calling or videoconferencing has been around for years.Sure, in the early days you needed an ISDN line and thousands of dollars worth of ISA boards to get it to work -- and then there weren't that many people you could call.But now there are free video calling apps on countless devices, video cameras everywhere, and bandwidth to boot (although it may cost you).There's Skype, Face Time, and newcomers like Google Hangouts.I'm more likely to call from Hong Kong to New York City than click on the camera to call across town.It's a matter of interest level: What someone's doing on the Westside probably isn't that much more interesting or different than what I'm doing on the Eastside. If you think privacy online is a problem now, just wait until people start calling you in earnest on a video line.

Users can go from one conversation to another, seeing other users on their Android terminal.Just getting out increases the chances of meeting new people — and friends are sometimes found in unlikely places. Check out continuing-education classes at your local college or university. Conversations with other dog walkers are guaranteed, and even people without pets will stop to say hello to Max, giving you the perfect opener. In addition, many colleges allow older adults to audit regular classes for free, and some have programs specifically for seniors. Senior centers have moved way beyond Friday-night bingo. If you're retired, take a part-time job, even for just a few hours a week. Invite a few of your neighbors for dinner if you like to cook, or organize a potluck meal if you don't. Indeed, most of us don't want arbitrary business associates to even see our cubicles.There's also the specter of Chatroulette (or Cu-See Me and Jenni Cam, for the older folks).

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